Reds to participate in NABF World SeriesJuly 20, 2021
BY JIMMY LAFAKIS
JASPER — The Jasper Reds (10-0) completed their fourth consecutive undefeated regular season on Sunday, and the team is ready to test its skills on the national stage. The Reds will compete in the National Amateur Baseball Federation World Series in Youngstown, Ohio.
Jasper begins the four-game event with a contest against the Grand Rapids Brewers on Thursday. The Reds will also face the Creekside Crocodiles, the Brooklyn Cougars and the Lake Erie Warhawks in the 22-and-under division.
“They’re really excited,” Jasper business manager Bob Alles said. “This is a really good group of guys. They get along so well. They like to compete and want to compete. They’re confident in their abilities, so that’s good. It’s going to show them what top-flight competition is. It’s going to help them get better.”
As they head east, the Reds will embrace new opportunities in a different environment. Alles is in the midst of his 49th season with the Reds, and he believes the team has never faced an opponent from Brooklyn.
“You see teams from different areas of the country, which is fun,” Alles said. “It’s just fun. Baseball is supposed to be fun. All of the games this year were at home, which is nice. We get out and get to talk to the guys a little bit more.”
The Reds have won all 10 of their games within friendly confines this year. Most recently, Jasper swept LaGrange County (Ky.) in a doubleheader on Sunday at Ruxer Field. The new opponents give the Reds a chance to test their mettle.
“We’re very much looking forward to that,” Alles said about the competition. “These teams will be very strong. They’ll have deep pitching staffs.”
Jasper’s 11-man roster features Grant Stratton, Eli Hopf, Jobe Luebbehusen and Andrew Wallace — all of whom contributed to the Jasper Wildcats’ 4A State Championship in June. Stratton finished 2-0 on the mound for the Reds in the regular season, while Luebbehusen picked up his first win on Sunday.
Reece Bauer, Jacob Crabtree, Dustin DuPont, Landon Mokris, Ryan Powell, Austin Simmers and A.J. Wheeler will also suit up for the Reds. Bauer played in all 10 regular-season games and led the Reds with 13 runs scored. DuPont provided a powerful bat and recorded the Reds’ lone home run. Mokris finished the regular season 12-for-20 (.600) and knocked in a team-high 13 runs.
Alles said that Jasper will also have the chance to play on a turf field for the first time this year. The well-trimmed grass at Ruxer can slow down balls hit in the infield, and turf is known to make the infield faster.
Still, the Reds are prepared to go out and play their game on any surface.
“Win or lose, it’s a winning experience to do something like this,” Alles said. “We’re very fortunate that we can do it.”
Alles has enjoyed several decades of baseball, but this new chance has amplified his passion for the game.
“I’m anxious to see what the competition is like,” he said. “I’m sure it will be plenty good. It should be a great time.”
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