Never say die.
UCT’s 12-year-old all-star baseball team lost its Cal Ripken Ohio Valley Regional opener Friday to South Lexington, 17-14.
And although the squad clawed its way into Monday’s championship game with five straight wins, it was going to have to defeat a Scott County, Ky. team that beat it 18-1 in last season’s 11-year-old regional round.
No sweat. Led by a no-hitter from pitcher Jack Perkins, sterling defense and home runs from Brian Harding and Breven Sanford, UCT sent Scott County packing Monday night in a 7-0 victory at Southside to earn a berth in next week’s Cal Ripken World Series in Springfield, Mass.
It will mark the first time that Howard County has sent a team to the World Series since 1995, when Southside earned Bambino World Series runner-up honors after winning the Ohio Valley Regional.
“We were still positive,” UCT manager Jason Hurlock said of his team having the chips stacked against it. “We knew we gave a game away [in the opener]. Our pitching kind of fell apart, and we weren’t throwing strikes, but that’s part of it. From there, we believed we could compete with any of these teams and stuck together.
“I don’t think it’s sunk in for any of us that we’re going to the World Series. They know they’ve won something big, but I don’t think they realize how big.”
Perkins, one of five members from Hurlock’s H.P. McPike squad which won back-to-back David A. Kasey Memorial Howard County Youth Baseball Tournament titles in undefeated fashion, put together a performance for the ages. He finished with seven strikeouts and four walks, but was the benefactor of a pair of double plays from the middle infield, helping him face just two over the minimum and not allow a runner past first base.