Keizer JBO team wins district title

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The Keizer Celts 10U American team topped the competition at the JBO Baseball District Tournament last week. Pictured are: Danny Alvarado, Alex Simpson, Brandon Reed, Rennick Jefferies, Bryce Campbell, Ian Martin and Noah Lelack (front row); Erik Barker, Riley Flores, Joel Knight and Evan Dallum (middle row); and coaches Jason Flores, Kurt Barker and Jake Martin (back row). Not pictured are Head Coach Steve Reed and player Jadon Mansur. (Submitted)

The Keizer Celts 10U American team won the JBO Baseball District Tournament on Saturday, July 21, and are headed to the state tournament.

The team completed a three-game sweep of its opponents with a 9-5 victory over Sweet Home, a team that worked its way up through consolation brackets to the championship game.

Brandon Reed pitched a complete game and defense continued to be solid with a first-inning double play by Erik Barker kept Sweet Home from scoring first.

Keizer put runs on the board every inning and two key hits kept the team riding high.  The first came in the bottom of the second inning when Joel Knight’s composite bat cracked in a two-run blast over the left field fence scoring himself and Rennick Jefferies.  Bryce Campbell’s hit during the bottom of the fourth inning was a two-RBI shot to the right center gap giving the Celts a comfortable lead and finishing as the JBO Valley District Champions.

In the first round of the tournament, the Celts beat the South Salem Saxons 7-2. The team put on a pitching and defensive clinic holding a tough team to one hit and two runs. Keizer broke the game open with timely hits from Brandon Reed, Riley Flores, Barker, Jeffries, Joel Knight and Bryce Campbell. Reed pitched four innings striking out seven. Barker came in for the save, adding two more strikeouts and one defensive out to end the game.

In the second round of the tournament, Keizer took its first victory off Sweet home in a 3-2 win. Barker pitched a complete game giving up two hits, two walks and two runs while notching eight strikeouts.

Defensively, the Celts were solid in all positions and two “throw downs” from Reed, playing catcher to short stop Ian Martin with Sweet Home trying to steal second were momentum killers that kept potential runners from getting into scoring position.  Patience at the plate, savvy base running and timely RBIs were the difference in the tight ball game.

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