Howard tosses no-hitter, hits HR

Wednesday, June 15, 2011
Barnes Construction standout Jay Howard (4) rears back for one of his seven strikeouts in his no-hitter Monday night over Lawrence Brothers in a one game playoff for the 12U Cal Ripken Major League title. Tribune photo by Anthony S. Puca

Twelve-year old Barnes Construction standout Jay Howard showed why he is the MVP of the MCYBSL Cal Ripken Major League this season as he tossed his first career no-hitter and slammed a two-run home run in a one game 10-0 playoff win over Lawrence Brothers.

Howard struck out seven and walked four Lawrence Brothers' batters in the four- inning, run-rule win, and went 2-3 at the plate with two RBIs, two runs scored, and a stolen base.

After the game, an elated Howard said, "I knew it was going to be tough, but I knew my team would be there for me if I threw strikes. My plan coming in was to throw a no-hitter and now we are going to Atlanta!"

Barnes manager Mike Bailey informed the team after the game that he was going to take the ballclub to Atlanta to see a Braves game as a reward for winning the title.

"First of all, they (Lawrence Brothers) have a great team, they beat us twice during the year and we both happened to finish 12-2. That is why we are playing tonight and we knew we had our work cut out for us," said Bailey.

"But Jay is a just a tremendous athlete and he was on tonight at the plate, and especially on the mound. He throws harder than any twelve year old I have ever seen."

Howard got a strikeout to begin the game before walking Jacob Jones.

Barnes turned a double play to get out the inning when Logan Bailey snared a pop-up in foul ground and tossed the ball to Howard, covering the bag at first for the double bubble.

Howard led off the bottom of the inning, slashing a frozen rope off the left field fence.

"That was the hardest ball I have ever seen a twelve year old hit in all of my playing and coaching days," said Barnes' first base coach and MCHS Athletic Director Kevin McGehee.

Howard went to second on an overthrow and stole third base on the next pitch.

After a Jacob Jones pitch hit Logan Bailey, Howard scampered home and Bailey went to third on a passed ball to make it 1-0.

Jones whiffed the next Barnes' batter before Kolbe McMahon knocked in Bailey with a grounder to second.

Howard overpowered his opponents in the top of the second when he struck out the side in order.

Barnes tacked on an unearned run in the home half of the inning to make it 3-0.

Lawrence Brothers' only offensive threat of the ballgame took place in the top of the third when Jake Simpson drew a one-out walk and stole second and third base.

Howard whiffed the next batter for out number two before walking Austin Bailey.

Bailey stole second, but Howard was up to the task when he reared back for an inning ending strikeout.

Logan Bailey walked to lead off the bottom of the frame and Brett McGehee followed with a sharp single to left.

Carson Walker (14) drills a bases clearing double in the third inning as Barnes Construction won the Cal Ripken Major League title in a one game 10-0 playoff win over Lawrence Brothers Monday night at the Richard D. Cashion Sports Complex in Lewisburg.

McMahon was beaned to load the sacks, sending Carson Walker to the plate, and on the second pitch, Walker drilled a bases clearing double to the fence into the left-center field gap.

Walker was out at third on the play, but Barnes had a commanding 6-0 lead.

Howard gave up a two-out walk to Dustin Deason in the top of the fourth, but Barnes' backstop Knox Barnes nailed him at second on a steal attempt to end the inning.

Phillip Crabtree reached on a one out error in the home half of the fourth before Howard sent a shot into the evening sky and out of the ballpark to make it 8-0.

McMahon doubled a little while later to score McGehee, who reached on a miscue and the game would end as McMahon crossed home plate with the league championship clincher on another Lawrence Brothers' error.