Lane Jones baffled opponents all season while pitching in the city league at McMinnville Civic Center. It was no different Monday night in the Cal Ripken State Championship game in Elizabethton.
Jones pitched three scoreless innings and added a 2-for-2 performance from the plate as the 10-year-old National League tournament team won the state title with a 4-0 win over Grassland.
Jacob Johnston added a two-RBI single and Brandon Hennessee smashed a solo home run to guide Warren County to victory.
The win propels the 10-year-olds to the Cal Ripken Southeast Regionals in New Bern, N.C.
Coming off a light work load the week before at the district tournament, Jones was a workhorse at the state. He only allowed one ball out of the infield, a first-inning single, before having to leave the game after the third inning because he pitched all of his available innings.
Brant Young entered in relief and slammed the door on Grassland with three shutout innings.
Warren County played stellar infield defensive behind its two pitchers as Grassland batters only struck out once and consistently put the ball in play.
Hennessee was a rock at third base and shortstop, and Hunter Adams, Young and Jones also made multiple plays without an error.
Warren County jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first when Adams reached on a fielder’s choice and then advanced to second. Blane Elkins belted a two-out single to center to score Adams and make it 1-0.
In the second, Hennessee drew a walk before Jones smashed a double off the center-field fence to give Warren County runners on second and third. Johnston came through in the clutch with a two-RBI single for a 3-0 lead.
Warren County scored its final run in the fourth when Hennessee drove the first pitch of the inning deep over the left-field fence. Warren County threatened to score more but Grassland’s left-fielder made a double play when he caught a fly ball and then threw out a runner at the plate trying to tag up and score from third.