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Jazz baseball lands six All Stars

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RICHMOND, Ind. – Six Richmond Jazz players were named All Stars on Monday as the team continues to click.

The Jazz (21-12) have won five straight games and eight of their last 10, thanks in large part to All Stars Kristan Curry Jr., Cael Chatham, Andrew Dietz, Ben Huber, Tyler Johnson and the former Catholic star of Seton. pitcher Luke Leverton.

Richmond’s top six will play in the Great Lakes Summer Collegiate League (GLSCL) All-Star Game at Prasco Park in Mason, Ohio on Tuesday, July 20 at 7:05 pm Admission is free and fans are entitled to free food and bounce houses. for kids.

“They’re the ones who get on the pitch and do the work, and the other coaches see it,” Jazz head coach Mike Skelly said of his All Stars. “They want the best product on the pitch for the All-Star Game.”

Leverton only started two games for the Jazz before joining another Summer League team more associated with his team at the University of Miami (Ohio), but he recently pitched three innings on July 11 and has got a save when his other match was interrupted.

Still, he left his mark on the Jazz and GLSCL in just 15 one-third innings, registering a 1.17 ERA, 2-0 record, save and 19-5 strike-at-bat ratio. . He proved his dominance in Class 1A, for which he became an All-State Pick on Tuesday, due to his “absolutely electric stuff,” according to Skelly.

Luke Leverton pitched six scoreless innings on his victorious debut at Richmond Jazz on Friday, June 4, 2021.

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Curry Jr., or “KJ” as his teammates and coaches call him, takes the top spot in Jazz and has been Skelly’s “biggest surprise” this season. The 5-foot-9 right-handed infielder from Wilson College in Chambersburg, Pa., Reduced 0.324 / 0.395 / 0.370 with five doubles and 14 stolen goals in 28 games.

His home is Bowie, Maryland, and Curry Jr. said Richmond was the farthest he had ever been from home for the summer ball. It was “a trip” for the up-and-coming senior, but he said he enjoyed the experience and was happy to thrive on a winning team.

“I kind of (exceeded my expectations). I struggled at first, but I stuck with that,” said Curry Jr .. “I stayed patient, kept working and I think I focused a lot on the mental aspect. I’m just trying to keep my mind straight and focus on putting together good drummers and staying in the game… I’m happy to play. “

Richmond Jazz Principal Drummer Kristan "K J" Curry Jr. was one of six players on the squad selected for the 2021 GLSCL All Star Game.

Chatham, a 6-foot-1 climbing junior from LaGrange College in Georgia, was one of the best two-way players on the team. As a right-handed pitcher and left-handed batsman, he had a 2.07 ERA and strikeout ratio of 15-2 in 13 relief innings and slashed 0.312 / 0.409 / 0.431 with seven doubles and 17 RBIs. .

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In Tuesday night’s thrilling 4-2 win over Cincinnati Steam (18-13), Chatham set off his team with a seventh inning homer that tied the game. He also pitched two white innings in the seventh and eighth, earning his first pitcher of the year victory.

Chatham said after the game that he enjoyed his time in Richmond despite being so far from home in Woodstock, Ga. He finds it interesting how the team interacts so well but comes from different parts of the country, and said the list as a whole has bonded quickly and spends each day spending time with each other.

Chatham also said he has improved in both aspects of his game and has followed the advice of his teammates on how they are improving. He described an atmosphere of collaboration between the players, an atmosphere that he believes contributes to their success.

“We’re all very open with ideas and asking people for help,” Chatham said. “It’s like, ‘Hey man, I can’t figure it out. You’re really good at it, what are you doing? What do you suggest? What do you see when I do it?’ “

Richmond Jazz two-way force Cael Chatham was one of six players on the squad selected for the 2021 GLSCL All-Star Game.

Ben Huber, a six-foot-three senior at Limestone College in South Carolina, has also dominated both throwing and hitting, and recently made his official visit to the University of Connecticut as a potential transfer. He’s got a 2.79 ERA with 14 strikeouts in 9 and two-thirds relief on the hump, but it was his bat that earned him the All-Star title.

Huber reduced to .380 / .441 / .490 at home with nine doubles and 17 RBIs in 27 games. He is second in the South Division in batting average and tied for first in doubles while striking out just 17 batters in 100 batting appearances.

The Pendleton, SC native has been the most consistent Jazz player so far this year, but Skelly said he also holds promise for the team to beat a strong Steam team by throwing their ace. without him. Skelly has known Huber for a long time and was impressed that he led his conference with a .440 batting average this spring, so he knew what Huber could do at the start of the season,

“Ben grew up outside of our neighborhood. He’s my little brother’s best friend, so I’ve known Ben since he was 5,” Skelly said. “He is truly becoming hers.”

Richmond Jazz's top hitter, Ben Huber, was one of six players on the team selected for the 2021 GLSCL All Star Game.

Six-footer Tyler Johnson, a rising junior at Coastal Carolina University in South Carolina, was the best power stick in Jazz. At .327 / .442 / .571, Johnson is tied for the lead in the division with five homers. He also leads Richmond with 19 RBIs and nine doubles.

Baseball in high school:Seton’s Catholic pitcher Luke Leverton named to the All-State team, Honorable Mention Moynihan

Skelly also coached Johnson two summers ago, and Johnson was also part of that league’s All Star squad. Skelly said the Arkansas native has struggled in college this spring, but is hopeful his formidable season with Jazz “will bring the juice back.”

“Tyler has unlimited pop. He hits baseballs in all areas,” Skelly said. “Just a lot of juice in that bat… a phenomenal kid.”

Richmond Jazz heavy hitter Tyler Johnson was one of six players on the team selected for the 2021 GLSCL All-Star Game.

Andrew Dietz, a two-way riding junior from Chestnut Hill College in Philadelphia, has had a summer of ups and downs on the mound, but he’s steadily improved on the plate.

He currently sports a 5.82 ERA in 34 innings, but he shone more as a reliever than a starter. As a batter, however, he has registered two games with three hits and one out with four hits in the past three weeks and seems to be finding his rhythm offensively.

Dietz also assisted former Hagerstown star pitcher Dom Anderson on Tuesday. Anderson, who had another solid outing with just two earned runs in six innings, allowed a solo homerun in the first quarter. Dietz delivered one of his own shortly thereafter with a stalled booming bomb that traveled about 415 feet, invigorating both Anderson and his teammates.

“(His home run) was huge for us, it got us back into the game,” Skelly said of Dietz. “He’s got pop, he just has to lay down and put his hands up. He’s got juice.”

Richmond Jazz pitcher Andrew Dietz was one of six players on the team selected for the 2021 GLSCL All Star Game.

Although the Jazz All Stars are headlining their strong season so far, the team as a whole has palpable chemistry and positive energy. Their tendency is to get into games late, which can be a risky way to operate, but it works more and more as the season progresses.

Richmond has nine games to play heading into the playoffs, including five home games at McBride Stadium. The team plays three consecutive home games July 16-18 before the All-Star game.

Skelly knows other teams are going to fight for the Jazz now that they are in the lead, but he thinks his team is up to the challenge. Curry Jr. is eager to play in the North Division when they advance to the playoffs and believes they have “a very good chance of winning it all.”

For now, the Jazz are on the right track.

I think we’re going to bring back a ring, “Chatham said.” Bring back a banner to go into that outfield wall. “

Gus Martin is the sports and educational journalist for the Palladium-Item. Follow him on Twitter @GusMartin_PI and contact him at [email protected] or 765-729-4742.