CHAMPION-- Jackson 96ers, MS

RUNNER UP-- Coal Creek Bulls, TN

BATTING CHAMPION-- Eli Ladner, Jackson 96ers

MVP-- John Wyatt Massey, Jackson 96ers

Championship Game Final Score-- Jackson 96ers 15 Coal Creek 1

2023 NABF 17u High School Division Champions – Jackson 96ers

Dalton Pixley leads Jackson 96ers to 3-peat High School World Series

CLINTON, Tenn. — The East Tennessee Baseball District hosted the 34th NABF High School Division World Series and its fourth consecutive year hosting the event. It consisted of eight teams from Alabama, Mississippi, Ohio, and Tennessee divided into two pools of four. Jackson 96ers, River City, Tennessee Prospects, and Townsend Mountain Men in Pool A, while Pool B had Central Alabama Prospects, Broadway Hawks, Coal Creek Bulls, and Troy Jr. Legion. The top two seeds in each pool reached the championship bracket, and the bottom two played in the consolation bracket.

Pool games were originally going to begin on Thursday, July 20; however, heavy rainfall caused the postponements of Hawks vs. Bombers and Hawks vs. Bulls. The games were rescheduled for the following afternoon and Saturday, July 22, at 5:45 p.m., respectively. Additionally, the downpour pushed back the start of Friday's games but still got completed at Gibbs High School and Anderson County High School that night.

Troy Jr. Legion defeated the Hawks 5-4, and the 96ers shut out the Tennessee Prospects 7-0 at Gibbs High School. Anderson County High School saw two shutouts, with the Mountain Men winning 1-0 over River City and the Bulls defeating the Alabama Prospects 5-0.

Pool play continued Saturday, where the 96ers and Bulls took the top seed in their respective pool after going 2-0 on day two. The Mountain Men and the Alabama Prospects were the Pool A and Pool B runners-up, following a 1-1 and 2-0 day. The championship semifinals featured Jackson vs. Central Alabama and Coal Creek vs. Townsend.

River City, Jr. Legion, Tennessee Prospects, and the Hawks played in the consolation bracket. The semifinal matchups were between River City vs. Broadway and Troy vs. Tennessee Prospects at Heritage High School.

Garrett Lee’s three-run home run powered River City over the Hawks 8-4, and Noah Francis’ two hits and three RBIs, which included a walk-off double, lifted Troy past the Tennessee Prospects 4-3. Troy’s bats went dormant in the consolation championship game as they only mustered a pair of hits, one apiece by Micah Grieshop and Francis, as River City defeated them 12-0. Lee drove in five more runs for River City, two on a double in the first and three with a blast to left field, while Harrison Shelton pitched a brilliant game as he tossed five scoreless innings of two-hit baseball and struck out nine with only issuing one walk.

At Anderson County High School, the 96ers and Bulls each won their semifinal by a score of 11-5, with Jackson scoring seven or more runs in its third game, and Coal Creek’s Luke Lankford collected two hits and drove in four runs in his team’s victory. The 96ers sought their third consecutive NABF High School World Series championship, while the Bulls went for its first and could become the first Tennessee team to win it since Bill Speros did so in 2003.

Coal Creek’s Hayden Ault and Jackson’s Dalton Pixley each threw a scoreless first inning, with the scoring beginning in the second for the 96ers. Mac Crawford doubled and scored three batters later, making it 1-0 Jackson.

The Bulls tied the game at one with the benefit of a couple of 96ers errors. Jeremiah Owens began the frame by getting on via a Brayden Chevalier miscue and was forced out at second when AJ Colorusso reached on a 6-4 fielder’s choice. Hunter Brummett courtesy ran for Colorusso and moved to third on John Wyatt Massey’s error that allowed Lankford to advance to second. Three batters later, Reece Wilkerson lined a single to left, plating Brummett. Pixley ended the Bulls' inning by getting Aydin Bond to hit into a 6-3 groundout.

Jackson broke the 1-1 tie with two two-out runs in the third. Ault hit Kolten Durkes with a pitch, and the 96er shortstop stole second base during Chevalier’s at-bat, which put him in scoring position. Then, Massey moved Durkes to third on a 4-3 groundout, and Crawford brought home Durkes on a single to center field. Crawford scored later in the inning that put Jackson ahead 3-1.

Pixley worked around hitting Easton Beaty with a pitch to start the home half of third by retiring the four through six hitters in three different ways — a strikeout looking, fielder's choice, and fly out.

The 96ers added to their lead in the next inning by Chevalier driving in Eli Lander on a two-out single. Now ahead 4-1, Pixley continued his strong effort on the mound with another scoreless frame that included a 6-4-3 double play and his third strikeout.

After Tripp Haire, who replaced Adult, and Pixley each pitched scoreless innings in the fifth, the 96ers scoring onslaught began. Jackson batted around in the sixth, and five scored on just three hits and an error by Bulls first baseman Morgan Clark. Then, Pixley escaped a bases-loaded no-out situation by striking out Harie and Jackson Harris and getting Wilkerson to fly out to Crawford in center field.

Jackson scored six in the following inning with 11 batters coming to the plate, and five collected a base hit, putting the 96ers ahead 15-1. Pixley set down Bond, Beaty, and Clark for a complete game, where he only allowed three hits, walked four, and struck out six. As a result of his performance and the hitting from Lander and Crawford, who went a combined 6-for-9 with two RBIs, the 96ers captured their third consecutive NABF High School World Series, becoming the first team to three-peat.

Following the presentation of championship and runners-up trophies to both the Bulls and 96ers, Lander and Massey were named the Series Batting Champion and MVP. Lander had a 3-for-4 afternoon with two doubles in the championship and scored two runs, and Massey went 3-for-7 and drove in three runs over his team's last three games.

2023 NABF 17u High School All Tournament Team

Maddox Myers Broadway Hawks, TN
Darrien Patterson Broadway Hawks, TN
Sam Henley Tennessee Prospects, TN
Owen Ryder Tennessee Prospects, TN
Noah Frances Troy Bombers, OH
Micha Grishop Troy Bombers, OH
Tobey Seibert Troy Bombers, OH
Garrett Lee River City, TN
Harrison Shelton River City, TN
Isaiah Slaven River City, TN
Freddy Carnley Central Alabama Prospects, AL
Colin Edwards Central Alabama Prospects, AL
Mason Hawkins Central Alabama Prospects, AL
Clayton Lawrence Central Alabama Prospects, AL
Ben Bryant Townsend Mountain Men, TN
Elijah Davis Townsend Mountain Men, TN
Ethan Marcum Townsend Mountain Men, TN
Aiden Smith Townsend Mountain Men, TN
Ayden Bond Coal Creek Bulls, TN
AJ Colrusso Coal Creek Bulls, TN
Tripp Haire Coal Creek Bulls, TN
Luke Lanford Coal Creek Bulls, TN
Reece Wilkerson Coal Creek Bulls, TN
Mac Crawford Jackson 96ers, MS
Kolton Dukes Jackson 96ers, MS
Dalton Pixley Jackson 96ers, MS
Cam Thompson Jackson 96ers, MS
Remington Waters Jackson 96ers, MS
Eli Lander -- Batting Champion Jackson 96ers, MS
John Wyatt Massey -- MVP Jackson 96ers, MS