Johnny Mac Thunder 15-and-under baseball team takes World Series runners-up honors


After amassing an impressive record of 36-13, the Johnny Mac Thunder 15-and-under baseball team recently took runners-up honors at the U.S. Specialty Sports Association’s World Series in Bellefon-taine Neighbors.

The USSSA World Series featured six teams from Missouri, Arkansas, Illinois, Mississippi and Minnesota. Johnny Mac head coach Mark Parker believed that the USSSA World Series was a good fit for his team due to the fact that the birthday cutoff for the U-15 category was Aug. 1.

The Thunder reached the finals of the World Series after defeating the Southern Rebels of Mississippi 9-2. Johnny Mac then played its 10th game in three days — a rematch with the Southern Rebels in the championship game.

“We had a lot of momentum going into that game,” Parker said. “We had beaten this Rebels’ team 9-2 earlier in the day, and our guys went out there and played as hard as they could play. We knew what was on the line and we’re not out to make any excuses.”

Johnny Mac gave up a 4-3 lead in the bottom of the seventh inning as the Southern Rebels scored two runs to hand the Thunder a heartbreaking 5-4 loss.

Johnny Mac starting pitcher Paul Moritz pitched four scoreless innings, striking out one. Moritz was relieved in the fifth by Taylor Stoult, who pitched two-thirds of an inning, giving up one run. The Thunder’s Adam Belgeri finished the final 21/3 innings of the game as he gave up four runs and the eventual loss. Belgeri did strike out one batter and walked one.

Johnny Mac first baseman Jesse Tierney had the strongest day at the plate with a 2-4 performance that included two doubles and two runs batted in. Tierney’s double in the top of the seventh gave the Thunder a 4-3 lead over the Southern Rebels.

Parker also noted the play of Thunder pitchers Adam Altmann and Mike Brother-ton, both of whom were inactive for more than a month due to injuries.

“Obviously we were not satisfied with second place,” Parker said. “But we played some good baseball and it took a lot of hard work to get where we were. I’m really proud of the fact that every day we worked hard and came out to play ball.”