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Blue Jays go undefeated in U8 play

The Cal Ripken 7-and-8-year-old division wrapped up play Wednesday night when the Fleming Photography Blue Jays captured the championship and capped an undefeated season with a win over the F&F reds.

“They put together a team that excelled at getting hits and they played good defense,” league president Art Evans said of the team’s accomplishment. “The first of the year, they were winning. As the year went on, they began winning games in a merciless way. This team just had a knack for playing baseball.”

The Blue Jays, who finished 13-0-2, landed four players on the Demopolis 8U all-star team, which was announced in closing ceremonies following the game. Representing the Jays on that team will be D.J. Evans, Will Turberville, Hunter Duren and Jackson Cox. They will be joined by Grant Patterson, Dustin Stephens and Payton Geary, who will all represent the runner-up Reds. The Lewis Construction Indians landed Andrew Fuqua and Rontrelle Smith on the squad. The Lions Club Diamondbacks will have representation on the roster in the form of Hayes Atkins, Hagen Shannon and Trey Malone. Tre Etheridge will carry the banner of the Rowley Rockies. The age group was the first all-star level division to culminate its playoffs.

“It’s really been a good year,” Evans said. “This year we started with the pitching machine at the maximum 42 miles per hour.”

In previous seasons, the league has started the machine at lower settings and worked its way up. League officials are confident that the early adjustment by this year’s players will result in concrete results both in district play and beyond.

Evans also said the league will take into consideration a handful of changes as it readies for next season.

“We’re going to look at our local rules and try to get them more in line with the tournament rules,” Evans said.

For now, however, Evans and other officials are focused on wrapping up the ongoing age divisions and readying for district play as they thank those who made this season possible.

“We wouldn’t have a recreational league in the summer if it wasn’t for the sponsors, the coaches and the volunteers,” Evans said. “We’re very fortunate to have more than 200 kids playing baseball aged 7-12 in Demopolis. If it weren’t for the managers and coaches in this league, this wouldn’t fly.”

The District 10 8U Tournament is scheduled to run from June 14-22.