Pine Bluff's Johnson whole show in 7-0 win

Pitcher strikes out 1st 14, hits 2 HRs vs. St. Mary's

Cal Ripken World Series

Youth Baseball

August 19, 2004|By Pat O'Malley | Pat O'Malley,SUN STAFF

In perhaps the most dominating performance in the two years of the Cal Ripken World Series in Aberdeen, Claude Johnson of Pine Bluff, Ark., allowed no base runners through five innings - including 14 strikeouts - and hit two homers in a 7--0 win over St. Mary's County yesterday.

Johnson struck out the first 14 batters he faced. He fielded a ground ball to the right side and ran to first for the putout and final out of the fifth inning.

The right-hander also went 3-for-3 with four RBIs.

His team lost its bid for a combined perfect game in the sixth and final inning when reliever Elliott Jackson gave up a leadoff walk and a one-out single to right by Kyle Jensen.

Johnson was removed so he would be eligible to pitch one inning today against Kennewick, Wash. Pine Bluff must win to have a chance at reaching the single-elimination round that starts tomorrow.

After capturing the Maryland state championship for 11-year-olds at Cal Sr.'s Yard in Aberdeen last summer, the St. Mary's County team's coaches issued a challenge to their players and parents to move next door for this year.

"We told our kids and parents, let's go for it, `' said Ron Jensen, manager of the team that, indeed, made it next door to Ripken Stadium for the Cal Ripken World Series for 12-and-unders.

Jensen, a 1977 graduate of Annapolis High, where he was an outfielder on the baseball team, said the team reached its goal of making it to the Ripken series after "starting back in March and playing about 60 games."

St. Mary's County went 7-1 to win the state title and automatic berth for Aberdeen.

Catcher Jimmy O'Grady, who said Cal Ripken was his idol, hit four homers in the states, followed by two each from third baseman/ outfielder Brady Jameson and pitcher//first baseman Devin Mackey.

"A-Rod [Alex Rodriguez] is my hero," said the 5-foot-3, 120-pound Jameson, who has hit two homers in the series and was named for former Oriole Brady Anderson.

Tom Jameson, a St. Mary's coach and Brady's dad, said he and his wife were fans of the Oriole, thus the name for their son.

"I don't know a lot about Brady Anderson, but I get my power from muscle and weight," said Brady Jameson.

"Playing here has been awesome and the highlight of my career," he added.

Other than host Churchville, St. Mary's County is the only team commuting to the Series, making a two-hour trek from Leonardtown each day.

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