Multi-State Joes top Total Baseball Vipers for Slumpbuster 13u D1 championship

June 24, 2024

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa — The Multi-State Joes do not use “Multi-State” lightly. Representing seven different states in the United States of America, the Joes come together for big tournaments like the Omaha Slumpbuster to play the best competition possible.


So, no, the Joes did not proclaim themselves as underdogs when they were deemed the No. 16 seed in Slumpbuster 13u D1 Championship play on Sunday at the Council Bluffs Recreation Complex.


In fact, the Joes — who are not average whatsoever — were as confident as ever after going 3-0 in pool play.


“Our mentality was that we were going to play our best no matter the opponent and enjoy the moment,” Joes player Quincy Ballard said.


Well, the Joes certainly enjoyed the moment on Championship Sunday, as they defeated No. 13 Illinois Hit Dogs 13-0 in the D1 semifinals and No. 11 Total Baseball Vipers Navy 12-7 to capture the Slumpbuster title on their first try.


“That’s where they deserve to be,” Joes coach Jeff Ballard said. “They played well. I think anybody they played against would tell you that we play well defensively, they can pitch and hit. We didn’t come here with the expectation to win but we came here with the expectation to play the best we can and we did that.”


His son agreed.


“It felt amazing. It was fun playing this competition and getting to play against the Vipers and all of the other great teams,” Quincy Ballard said. “I had a lot of fun catching and hammering some baseballs. It was an awesome tournament. I enjoyed it.”


The Joes leader expanded upon Quincy’s statement.


“It was just the way that the seeding worked out. We just didn’t score as much as we should’ve in one of the games,” coach Ballard said, citing a 1-0 pool play win amongst 16-0 and 19-1pool play wins.


The Joes went a perfect 7-0and averaged 11 runs — and just one run allowed — per game in their first Slumpbuster appearance.


In the championship game, the Joes jumped all over the Vipers for a 12-0 lead through three innings including a four-spot in the first, a single tally in the second and seven runs in the third.


“They were great,” coach Ballard said of the offense. “These boys can hit. That’s why we’re here.”


The Vipers, however, were not going down without a fight, rallying for six runs in the top of the fourth inning to cut the lead in half to a more manageable 12-6 deficit. But, unfortunately for the West Hills, California-based squad, they were only able to muster another run in the seventh.


“Those guys hit the cover off the ball if you put it in the wrong spot,” coach Ballard said of the runner-up Vipers, who finished 6-1 in the tournament. “Once our starter left it over the plate, they made him pay. These boys can hit and play baseball.”


Leadoff hitter Carson Noce went 3-for-4 with two RBI to lead the Joes at the plate. Jaxon Pierce and Beckett Frazier both collected two hits and two RBI in the process. Jett Jones tossed four innings and allowed four earned runs while Noce closed things out with just three hits and one earned run allowed. Jones and Noce both registered four strikeouts.


“They’re all great,” coach Ballard said of his pitching. “Any given day we’ve got several guys who have a lot of zip. We only have 11 guys and they all can throw. They’re all competitors and you never know who is going to show up when. It’s great.”


That is how it goes at the Omaha Slumpbuster. Players may come and go but the ones who stand out, usually make it all the way to the end.


Much like the Joes.


“We wanted to try something different with a bunch of teams,” coach Ballard said about entering the Slumpbuster tourney. “That’s what we’re looking for is to play baseball against the teams that want to not only have fun but to win.”