DRAFFENVILLE – For the second year in a row, Paducah Junior Legion claimed the championship in the American Legion state junior baseball tournament at Mike Miller Park Sunday.
This year, the Post 31-sponsored team of coach Chip Cox came from the consolation bracket and forced an “if” game, winning twice on the final day of the tourney to take the trophy.
Paducah pulled out a 12-7 win against championship bracket winner Ashland Post 76, then handed Ashland a 5-1 defeat in the double-elimination second game later in the day to claim the title.
They also earned a trip to the South Central Regional tournament, which begins Thursday in Bryant, Ark. Teams from Oklahoma, Texas, Tennessee, Kansas and Louisiana will compete against the Paducah team and two teams from Arkansas.
Ashland took a 1-0 win over Lexington Post 8 in a tight first-round game on Thursday and then sent Calvert City Post 236’s Junior Marshals to the consolation bracket with a 22-14 victory on Friday.
Paducah beat Florence Post 4 in the first round by a 7-3 score and then eliminated Mayfield Post 26 in a 16-1 runaway Friday.
Ashland took a 2-1 win over Paducah in the upper bracket finale.
Post 31 met the Marshals in the consolation bracket final, winning 5-1 and earning a rematch against Ashland.
In Sunday’s first game, Paducah jumped ahead early and totaled 13 hits in a 12-7 win. In the second game, Ashland took a 1-0 lead but saw Paducah tie it in the second inning and then go ahead 3-1 in a controversial third inning, marred by a disputed call on a fly ball by Paducah batter Derrick Schneider.
Post 31 added single runs in the fourth and sixth innings to pull away to the win.
The third inning was also marked by a rain shower that dampened the field but did not interrupt play.
Third baseman Davis Sims of Post 31 was named most valuable player of the tournament. Sims went 9-for-16 with two home runs and 4 doubles.
Last year, Paducah advanced through the upper bracket and captured the title with a victory over Lexington Post 8.