The Jackson Indians traveled to the other side of the state over the weekend to take on some of the toughest Class 5 and 6 competition Missouri has to offer. Not only did the Boys Varsity squad make their presence known, they made a bold statement in the face of their competition, dominating all three games in the Willard Tournament. The surging Indians are now 4-0 on the young season, and look like the cream of the crop in Class 6.
The first game of the tournament came against the top-ranked Willard Tigers, and it didn’t take long for the Indians to introduce themselves. Jackson put up a five-spot in the first inning before tacking on four more in the fourth. Just like that it was 9-0 and they were cruising towards a dominant upset victory.
Willard came back with two in the fifth, but the Indians plated runs in the final two innings to go up 11-2 and slam the door on the shellshocked Tigers. Jackson outhit Willard 11-5 and took advantage of six Tiger errors en route to the 11-2 victory and a 2-0 start to the season.
Right Fielder Caden Bogenpohl led the charge offensively with a 3-for-5 performance that included two doubles, three runs scored, an RBI and a stolen base. Not to be outshined were Logan Bruns, who went 2-4 with three RBI, and Clayton Ernst with his 2-for-3 effort that included a pair of runs and RBIs.
On the bump JP Sauer cruised through 4 1/3 innings allowing just two runs on four hits and three walks while striking out eight. Cameron Marchi came on in relief to close out the game and blanked the Tigers through 2 2/3 IP, allowing just one hit and fanning three against zero walks.
Next up the Indians faced the Republic Tigers, and this lineup of big cats went down even easier than the first one Jackson faced in the tournament. The Indians put up three in the first inning and three in the second before erupting for six more in the third. Republic got on the board in the fourth with a solitary run, but Jackson answered right back with four more in the fourth to trigger the mercy rule and end the game at 16-1 after four frames.
Offensively, Quinton Borders led the charge with three RBI on a pair of base hits, while Henley Parker filled up the box score by going 2-for-2 with a walk, an RBI, three runs scored and two stolen bases. Steven Schneider had a big game as well with three RBI and a pair of runs after his 2-for-2 effort. On the mound Cayden Drum went the distance, allowing just one unearned run on two hits and a walk while striking out nine in his dazzling performance.
With the offense officially humming, Jackson was in a great headspace for the Championship game against the Kickapoo Chiefs, and it didn’t take long for them to get back to what they do best. The Indians notched a pair of runs in the first before breaking out with four more in the second, but the Chiefs weren’t going down without a fight. They crossed the plate in the first and then added two more in the second to cut the lead to 6-3.
Jackson added a run in the third, but Kickapoo scored a run in the fourth and fifth innings to tighten things up at 7-5. That lead must have felt uncomfortable for the Indians, so they went ahead and just exploded for seven more in the sixth. The punch-drunk Chiefs didn’t have an answer after getting carpet-bombed by the seemingly unstoppable Jackson offense, and the once-close game suddenly ended at 15-6, with the trophy headed back to Indian territory.
Bogenpohl and Baden Hackworth were the heavy hitters in this one, combining for five hits and eight RBI. The former had a pair of doubles and the latter blasted the first homer of the year for the Indians. Kyle Richardson had a nice day as well with a pair of RBI in his 2-for-5 performance, but the entire team deserves credit for essentially functioning as a baseball version of Godzilla destroying a city.
As for the arms in the finale, Bogenpohl, Kaden Kendle, and Hackworth successfully kept the Chiefs off balance. Bogenpohl got the win after firing off five innings with eight Ks, while the other two posted clean innings in relief to take down the title.
A big shout out to Jackson fans around the country for tuning into broadcast watching the Indians dominate the Willard Tournament from 21 different states over the weekend and another from across the pond in Ireland! If you want to relive the action of the weekend you can watch the games on the Jackson Live page or Watch Here
The Indians appear to be in another stratosphere this season and the hope of a State Title is certainly not a lofty aspiration. They host the North County Raiders for Senior Night on Monday and look to keep the bulldozer in drive while searching for a fifth consecutive win to open the season. If you can’t make it to the game make sure you watch the game on the Jackson Live Page.