NEA Venom win State Championship
The NEA Venom, 7-8 machine pitch, All Star team won the Arkansas Little League State Championship title.
The team is made up of players from four area teams. They are Anthony Lopez, Fletcher Clay, Hunter Vuletich, John Garrett Edwards, Cade Cater, Dylan Stewart, Jeremiah Perez, Jacob Tarver, Kason Grissom, Tate Schooley, and Austin Harmon. Coaches are Josue Perez, Todd Edwards and Jason Stewart.
The team finished with a 14-1 record winning first place in the Jonesboro Tournament and first place in the District Tournament before going on to win the state title.
The team played together two to three weeks before the Jonesboro Tournament. They were undefeated in the Jonesboro Tournament defeating Searcy 12-1; Campbell, Mo. 14-8; Searcy 6-5; and Kennett 11-1.
In the District Tournament, they were undefeated defeating Blytheville-8 19-8; Craighead-Poinsett 15-0; Blytheville-7 14-4; and Blytheville-8 13-10.
In the state tournament the boys played seven games, winning six. They defeated Parkers Chapel 13-3 before suffering their only loss against Rosston finishing with a 6-5 score. They later came back and run-ruled Rosston 13-3. Other state wins for the NEA Venom included Blytheville-8 14-10; and White Hall 15-5. The finals were played against Arkadelphia with the NEA Venom defeating them twice 14-6 in the semi-final game and 16-6 in the championship game.
Coach Todd Edwards said the boys did a great job.
"It was a team effort," he said. "They played well defensively and offensively. In the last three games of the state tournament, 10 out of 11 players scored in each game. Each of the players were able to play at least two positions. The boys had only played together for about a month and everyone at the state tournament thought they were a traveling team."
This is the third consecutive year for a NEA East area team to win the 8 and under machine pitch state title. Jacob Tarver was on last year's winning team as well as this year's winning team.