Published 11:10 PM EDT Jul 12, 2020
COLUMBUS – Jayce Dansby will play in a lot more baseball games in his career, but it might be tough to top Sunday.
Dansby, who will be a sophomore at Newark this fall, lived a dream when he stepped into the batter’s box at Huntington Park. He then helped pitch the Ohio Bison Gold 15U to a Buckeye Elite championship.
“It’s really cool because I have always wanted to play on this field. I always thought it was cool watching the Clippers games. It’s good to get a win,” Dansby said. “I sat there, took a breath and did what I had to do to get a hit. I couldn’t hit a lot today. I wasn’t really feeling the stick, but I felt good pitching.”
The Bison won seven games in four days, including three in an eight-hour span Sunday, to claim the most prestigious travel baseball trophy in central Ohio. A 9-6 victory against Demand Command Toledo was an unforgettable moment for a group of Bison, hoping they have many more days like this one.
The Bison, in their first year of play after merging the Licking County Settlers with the Licking County Family YMCA’s Voodoo Baseball, won their second tournament of the summer. Along the way, they avenged earlier losses to the Mid-Ohio Bullets and Gem City Throwbacks.
“Just getting to the Platinum bracket is an achievement let alone winning it,” Bison coach Todd Morris said. “This is the best tournament in the area. This is the tournament all of the teams get in. This is something else. It’s definitely a highlight.”
The Bison threw the first punch against Demand, scoring two in the first and four in the second as Newark Catholic’s Eli Morris and Johnstown’s Garrett Grinstead hit back-to-back RBI doubles to make it 6-0. Demand cut the deficit to 7-5 after three against Morris before Dansby stepped to the forefront.
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Dansby allowed just one run in three innings to a powerful lineup. stranding four runners. Newark’s Owen Poole relieved in the seventh after the leadoff batter reached, and he induced a 6-3 double play that Granville’s Mason Hackett gloved near second base.
“It feels great to come out here and beat a really good team,” Hackett said. “The energy was loud. We had solid defense and hit the crap out of the ball.”
Morris tripled and scored on Grinstead’s single in the fourth inning. River View’s Slater Sampsel tripled and scored on Poole’s single in the seventh.
The Bison piled up 10 hits and struck out four times against one of the top teams in northwest Ohio.
“We always have confidence in our abilities, and we never back down from anyone,” Hackett said. “We always work hard and pick each other up when we are down. That’s why we win games. We always have a positive attitude.”
The Bison are entirely made up of Licking County players with the exception of Sampsel. Dansby and Newark teammate Trey Robinson won a Licking County Shrine Tournament championship together three years ago.
“I have played with three kids on the team since I was in elementary school,” Dansby said. “We have good chemistry together, so we do pretty good together.”