Jackson Prep players execute the dogpile following the Patriots 15-3 win over Jackson Academy in the MAIS AAAA Division 1 Baseball Championships.
Jackson Prep players execute the dogpile following the Patriots 15-3 win over Jackson Academy in the MAIS AAAA Division 1 Baseball Championships.
Jackson Preparatory School won their fifth MAIS AAAA State Title in baseball in six years after sweeping rival Jackson Academy last week.

Patriots head coach Brent Heavner said they have tried to build a program that will last, not just worry about the year-to-year. He said the players they have had over the years are the key to the dynasty’s prolonged success over the years.

“You look back on the players we had before, when it all started with Jake Mangum, Parker Caraci, Gene Wood and Noah Hughes,” Heavner said. “They were the big four that really got us rolling five or six years ago. You started to see a trend of developing players over the years and getting them to the next level and the players around them bought into what we were trying to do. It became a team concept and we built of the previous years to become better each year.”

The 28-9 Patriots were led on offense by senior Chance Lovertich, freshman Kelly Crumpton and junior Jerrion Ealy. Lovertich led the team in batting average with an average of .488. He also hit in 31 runs and tied for the lead on the team with five home runs. Lovertich also led the team on the mound with 59 innings pitched. He racked up six wins on the mound and only gave up a 2.94 ERA. He struck out 43 batters over the course of the season.

Crumpton had a batting average of .411 and led the team in RBI with 38. He also hit three home runs. Ealy hit for an average of .364 and hit five home runs. He led the team in runs scored with 45, 20 more than anyone else on the team. He also stole 18 bases, the only player on the team with double digit steals.

Despite the way these three led the team, it was the overall team effort that Heavner praised.

“This year was one of the more gritty teams that I have been around,” Heavner said. “Chance Lovertich, Jerrion Ealy, and Kelly Crumpton are big time players, but this was more of a team where it was a different guy every night to lead the team. In that state championship our senior Chris Russell hit a grand slam to put us ahead and then hits a run in to win the game. It was not just one player doing it, it was a combination of players playing their role.”

They topped Jackson Academy, their rival in the championship game. It was something Heavner said made it all the sweeter.  

“To go out there and compete for a state championship, it is a lot of fun because you know each other so well on and off the field,” Heavner said. “It is who can play better at the time and there is a little bit of sweet enjoyment out of it to win in our place then go over there and win in their place. It is always fun to win a state championship but it adds a little to beat your rival doing it.”