TYLER — The Needville 10U All-Stars were in the driver’s seat entering Wednesday’s Texas East State Tournament finale at Faulkner Park in Tyler.
The future Blue Jays needed only one win to secure the League’s first 10-and-under state championship, and Needville had two chances to grab the victory.
Unfortunately, Bellaire had other plans. The future Cardinals won both games, 5-0 and 5-2.
The Needville 10U All-Stars finish with an 8-2 record and two banners: District 36 and Texas East Section 4.
In the opening game, Needville struggled to get their offense going. The future Blue Jays collected six hits, but none were strung together into a run.
Bellaire, on the other hand, struck early with two runs in the first inning. Jagger McRae and Weston Reed reached base in the first two innings but were left stranded.
Bellaire continued to hit the ball well, while Needville’s Easton Ondruch and Michael Raven limited the damage.
Jakolby White led off the third inning by getting hit by a pitch, but the next three batters were retired in order.
The future Cardinals added two more runs in the fourth inning with a two-out rally. Two walks, a single and wild pitch, turned into a 4-0 lead for Bellaire.
Needville mustered its own two-out rally in the bottom of the frame with a single from Corbin Riddle and a catcher’s interference drawn by Josiah Benson. But the key hit didn’t come.
It was the same in the fifth, McRae singled, and a pitch hit DJ Jablonski. Both were stranded.
Bellaire added a fifth run in the sixth and Needville saw hits from Raven, Riddle and Jayson Arispe that turned into no runs.
In Game 2, which was 30 minutes after Game 1, nothing seemed to be going Needville’s way. A handful of close calls went against the future Blue Jays. The best example was a pop-up behind the plate that Jablonski was prevented from catching by an out-of-position umpire. With the new lease on life, the Bellaire batter hit the next pitch to the outfield to score a run.
Bellaire was again first to score in Game 2. The future Cardinals loaded the bases with no outs and scored two runs.
Needville finally got on the board against Bellaire in the third inning.
Jakolby White led off the inning with a single. A double by Jablonski put two runners in scoring position.
Ondruch ripped a single to center field to cut the Bellaire lead to one run.
Both teams traded singles in the fourth inning, but Bellaire added to their fifth inning score. Three batters reached safely to make it 3-1 and another hit made it 4-1.
Needville had plenty of traffic on the base paths in the bottom of the frame after walks to Jablonski and Easton Benge. Benge stole third base and scored on a fielder’s choice. Raven (hit-by-pitch) and Reed (single) loaded the bases, but Bellaire escaped after Ondruch was caught attempting to score on a fly ball to center field.
Bellaire added another run in the sixth, and Needville mustered a walk in the final frame.