CM All-Stars look to defend title

Jensen, Tarbell guide squad back to World Series

REMUS — Two previous times, Jake Tarbell had the opportunity to reach the World Series, but walked away empty.

That is why he was so excited Sunday.

AND THE PITCH: Aaron Jensen fires a pitch to the plate for the Central Michigan All-Stars earlier this season. (Courtesy photo/Chris Jensen)

After the Central Michigan All-Stars were able to post an 8-5 victory in the championship contest of the Zone Tournament, featuring teams from Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Missouri, Tarbell was able to celebrate.

“I’ve been in the Zone Tournament the last three years, but never won it,” he said. “This is great to be able to finally do it.”

Tarbell is not the only local player on the 19-and-under squad that now advances to the Palomino World Series in California beginning Thursday.

Also on the squad is Big Rapids graduate and current Grand Rapids Community College player Aaron Jensen, who pitched the second of the three games the Central Michigan All-Stars played in.

Jensen also has spent time at first base for the squad.

The CM All-Stars also are coached by Chippewa Hills baseball coach Ben Wright, who helped the team win the World Series a year ago.

“We made it to the college World Series, but we didn’t do to hot, but now I get another shot at it,” Jensen said.

It is the second game that just might have set the tone for the tournament.

The CM All-Stars trailed by three runs going into the bottom of the seventh inning. With two outs and no runners on base, it looked like the CM All-Stars were headed to the losers bracket of the double elimination tournament.

The CM All-Stars had other ideas, rallying to score three runs to tie the game. They then scored one run in the eighth inning to pull out the victory.

“You can tell these games have a different feel to it,” Jensen said. “The crowd is into it, the guys are up in the dugout and there is just a playoff feel to it.”

The CM All-Stars then had to work hard to pull out the victory in the championship contest. With the score tied at 5-5, CM All-Stars pitcher walked a couple of batters.

Tarbell then came on in relief.

“I knew I had to come in and throw strikes and let them hit it,” he said. “You have to throw your best pitches to the best hitters.”

Tarbell did not surrender a run and the CM All-Stars were able to record the 8-5 victory.

Now, the CM All-Stars advance to the World Series beginning Thursday night against Puerto Rico. There are four teams from the United States and four international teams.

The goal was to return to the World Series with the eight returning players from last year’s team, Wright said.

“Our ultimate goal was to get back to the World Series and get the younger kids to improve and experience it,” Wright said. “But since we are there, we are going to take the same approach as we have all season, to take it one game at a time.”

Jensen has pitched for the CM All-Stars all season and has worked on various pitches in an effort to prepare for next season for GRCC.

That thinking now goes out the window.

“If you succeed here, it will give me some confidence in college ball,” Jensen said. “My goal now is to win it. I’m not working on anything, I’m going to bring my good stuff.”

Tarbell, who has played catcher and left field this season, has only one goal for the World Series.

“I just want to help my team as much as I can,” he said.

One comment on “CM All-Stars look to defend title

Leave a Reply