By VAN HOLLAND
JAMESVILLE – Tarboro All-Star Jesus Garcia didn't realize what he had just accomplished until after the game when a couple of Tarboro fans told him. He had just thrown a one hitter and faced just one batter over the minimum in a six inning game. That was the best pitched game of the 12-under Little Tar Heel District 7 tournament and his complete game performance stat line was amazing. Giving up just one run off of one hit and striking out 12. He didn't walk a batter and battled back from a number of full counts to opposing batters to get a strike out or a recorded out.
"Jesus threw a great game for us and put us in a good position to win the tournament," Tarboro coach Bill Howerin said. "He was impressive tonight especially not walking a batter. He did exactly what was expected of him...throwing strikes."
The performance Garcia gave and the offensive performance Tarboro added put them in position to advance to the state tournament after beating Jamesville 8-1 in the District 7 championship game.
The win capped off a long nagging streak for Tarboro's All-Star teams, because it had been a long time since they had advanced to a state tournament or won a district tournament.
Howerin has been coaching 37-years in the Tarboro league and couldn't recall during his time when a team had advanced past the district tournament.
"It means a lot for us to win the district," Howerin said. "This is just a good group of kids here and they have worked hard to get to this point. They have played together right much on the weekends, which has helped them learn each other."
Through five games, Tarboro outscored their opponents 61-11 and hit 13 home runs. They batted .420 as a team and had five players with five hits or more in the tournament.
"We came ready to play in the tournament," Howerin said. "Our offense was impressive every game and we always had that one break through inning that helped us out."
After scoring a run in the bottom of the second inning, Jamesville took a 1-0 lead. That lead didn't last long though, because Justin Ramirez came through for Tarboro in the top of the third inning when he hit a ground ball to second and scored Cameron Warren to tie the game.
Tarboro had a big inning in every game where they scored at least six runs or more and their big inning in the championship game was the top of the fourth when they sent nine batters to the plate and scored six runs. All of the damage happened with two outs in the inning. Warren, Ramirez, Dillon Johnson and Kevin Braswell each had RBIs in that inning.
"I was just hoping we would have a big inning like we did and sort of break out of it," Howerin said. "We took advantage of that inning and were able to open the lead up."
Mike Wiggins capped the scoring off when he hit a line drive home run over the centerfield fence in the fifth to give Tarboro the 8-1 cushion.
"This was a good win for us," Howerin said. "They (Jamesville) played a good game and they fought hard to get back to the championship game after losing the first game of the tournament."
Now that Tarboro advances to the state tournament, Howerin knows his team will have to keep playing like they did in the district, because they will be facing some tougher opponents.
"We just have to stay focused and if we don't we will be on the other end of some of these scores," Howerin said. "I don't know much about the teams in the state tournament, but I do know they will be good teams, because they have won their districts."
Tarboro will play at 7 p.m. July 25 in Williamston. The state tournament festivities will kick off at 2:30 p.m. when they announce each team and their players before the first game of the tournament starts.