The Eastern Kentucky Crusaders took the field on Mother’s Day Weekend in Danville and put everyone in youth baseball on notice — the Crusaders are for real.

The Crusaders walked away with an impressive showing winning three of the four tournaments they entered. The 8U, 11U, and 12U all walked away with impressive tournament victories.

11U

The EKY Crusaders 2026 were the first to clinch their tournament championship after edging out the Bluegrass Thunder in the championship game, 10-6, after falling to the Thunder in Pool Play 2-1 earlier in the day.

The Crusaders went 0-2 in pool play losing both games in the home half of the last inning. The Crusaders didn’t quit or hang their heads after the losses.

They bounced back and defeated the MidWest Prospects (Mt. Vernon) 7-0 in the semifinal game which was a revenge game for the Crusaders.

The Crusaders then faced the Thunder and was able to jump out to an early 10-3 lead and held on to the victory with a final score of 10-6.

The tournament championship moved the 2026 team on to a 12-3 overall record and their third tournament championship of the season in four tournaments entered.

8U

The 8U had a much easier weekend rolling through Pool Play defeating the Skippers 18-1 and the MidWest Prospects, 12-3.

This placed the Crusaders as the overall No. 1 seed and set up a rematch with the Prospects. After jumping out to an early 9-3 advantage, the Crusaders were slowed down with a field change due to poor lightning. The Crusaders came out flat the Prospects actually took a 12-9 lead in the bottom of the fifth and final inning.

After two quick outs, the Crusaders were down to their last out with no runners on base when the magic begin to happen.

Rayse Frazier, Connor Hinkle, Isaac Parrett, and Micah Sizemore all singled to setup Cooper Parman with the game winning hit. The Crusaders survived with a 13-12 victory and secured themselves a place in the championship.

The championship game was over quickly as the Crusaders scored early and often.

They scored six runs in the first, added four more runs in the second and scored four runs in the third to win their second tournament of the year, with a commanding 14-2 victory over the Central Kentucky Sliders.

This was the second tournament championship of the season for the 8U Crusaders and it improved their overall record to 11-3.

12U

The EKY Crusaders 2025 opened their season on Saturday and Eastern Kentucky University graduate and former assistant baseball coach at Transylvania University, Dickie Boothe, led his squad to an impressive showing.

The team’s first game of the year didn’t go as planned as they stumbled out of the gates making a few defensive mistakes that put them in a hole against one of the best teams in the state of Kentucky, the Lexington Hustle.

After making a few lineup tweaks, the bats started warming up and the Crusaders 2025 team went on to score 39 runs over the next three games and cruised to a tournament championship.

The 2025 group was able to bounce back and finish 1-1 in pool play after thrashing the Washington County Warriors 16-5 as Eli Holt decided to put on an impressive pitching performance. Holt also took a Washington County pitcher deep for impressive home run.

The Crusaders hit three home runs as Isiah Stanley, Holt, and Kole Jervis all went deep in the inning.

The semifinal game the Crusaders trotted Jervis to the mound and all he did was throw a no-hitter against the Louisville Express as the Crusaders rolled to a 14-1 victory.

Keegan Baker and Evan Woodlee both hit home runs in the game and Luke Elam went 2-3 and drove in four runs in the game. While Baker, Woodlee, and Elam led the team offensively, it was slick-fielding Lucas Tarvin providing the defense, making multiple web gems in the game.

The second time around, the Crusaders took the early lead and never looked back as fire baller, Noah Cima, took the mound and the Hustle just couldn’t catch up to his velocity.

Brady Hensley, Jervis, and Elam each scored two runs in the game that ended after 11 p.m. on Saturday and finished with a 9-3 victory over the Lexington Hustle.

The Crusaders finished the weekend 3-1 and brought home the championship in their first tournament of the season. The 2025 team will be back in action Memorial Day Weekend as they head to Border Wars in Clarksville, IN.

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