From staff reports
When your closest game, your “nail-biter,” is decided by a five-run margin, you have a dominant baseball team.
That was the position for the Joplin South all-stars in the recent 10-year-old Little League playoffs.
South won the district tournament with an 8-0 record and cruised through the state tournament with four straight double-digit victories.
“We just totally dominated,” said Dantley Harbin, the South manager.
“We’re really solid. We have about five solid pitchers and we have some big kids, too.”
This group has been together for three years and has never lost at the all-star level, Harbin said.
Team members are Cade Carlson, Kohl Cooper, Elijah Eminger, Michael Landers, Garrett Landis, Holden Ledford, Jeremiah McGough, Jacob Price, Zech Stayton, Jordyn Washington and Zach Westmoreland.
Jason Stayton is the assistant manager, with Steve Carlson and Travis Ledford the coaches.
Joplin South won the district by outscoring its opponents 132-12. After winning six games in pool play, South added a pair of bracket victories. The title game was a 6-1 decision over Webb City.
“That was the only nail-biter we had,” Harbin said.
In the state tournament, played at Concordia, Joplin South opened with a 11-1 victory over Cole County. Wins over Campbell (17-6) and Lacomo East (12-2) made South the favorite.
Another decision over Campbell, this time 14-2, gave South the state championship. The Joplin club scored 10 times in the first inning of that game.
“We took this group when they were about 7 and put together a traveling team,” Harbin said. “We got our kids to keep playing Little League, too.
“They are good all-around athletes. They dominate in basketball, and in football, too.”