Langley has plenty of tradition
Jordan Lennerton is playing in his fourth World Series. And he’s only 16-years-old.
One of the programs competing in the USABA 18 and under World Series, the Langley Blaze has made a name for itself in recent years in amateur baseball. One of the players most responsible for that is Lennerton, who played with Langley at the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pa. as a 12-year-old in 1998.
Lennerton, a left-handed pitcher and first baseman, went on to play Junior Little League 14-year-old World Series with Langley in 2000. Another member of that team was Jon Hesketh. Lennerton and Hesketh are both members of the Langley team that’s competing in the USABA 18 and under World Series.
In addition, Lennerton played for Langley’s 15-year-old team that advanced to the Babe Ruth World Series last year. Jordan isn’t the only Lennerton who has made history for Langley.
Jordan’s older brother, Ryan, who is an assistant coach for Langley’s team competing in the USABA World Series in Carson City, pitched in the Big League World Series for 18-year-olds in 2000. That Langley club become the first Canadian team to win a title in any World Series.
Now a pitcher at Eastern Oklahoma Junior College, Ryan has been drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers twice.
Ryan was the starting pitching in the championship game of the 18-year-old World Series two years ago. He left with a 5-2 lead and Langley went on to beat Jefferson, Indiana 9-8.
“It’s kind of neat,” Ryan said. “Five minutes of fame there, but it’s a team thing obviously. We still had to win four or five games besides that one.”
Jordan’s historic accomplish came last year at the 15-year-old World Series when he hit a tournament record five home runs. Langley placed third in the event.
“I just went in and tried to hit the ball,” Jordan said. “It would have meant a lot more if we had won the tournament. I’m proud of myself for holding the record, but it’s kind of a hollow accomplishment.”
At Williamsport, Jordan played on a team that placed second in the International division to Japan. Langley split with the team from Japan, winning 10-5, but losing 3-2.
“It was unreal,” Jordan said. “It’s what every kid dreams about. We were all surprised that we did so well, but at the same time we we’re disappointed that we didn’t win.”
Jordan admitted he was nervous to go up against a team with the reputation like Japan.
“You’re pretty nervous going in, but once you get through the lineup one time it’s not so bad,” he said.
Jordan and Hesketh played on a 14-year-old team that placed second in the World Series. In that World Series, Jordan set a tournament record with another pitcher for most strikeouts (27).
“I wasn’t at my best performance,” said Hesketh about the 14-year-old event.
But Hesketh and Jordan said their past performances have prepared them for the USABA tournament.
“It made me more patient at the plate,” said Hesketh about the 14-year-old event.
Ryan, Jordan and Hesketh all agree that the USABA World Series is comprable in talent to the past tournaments they’ve played in.
“I think this one’s a little bit better,” said Hesketh about the USABA event. “Some of the pitchers have been pretty good, the speed on them. There’s less pressure here.”
But Hesketh also said he’s learned to control the pressure he faces in an event like the USABA tournament.
Hesketh said he’s not intimidated by facing mostly 18-year-olds. “It’s just like facing guys the same age as me,” he said.
Jordan admitted there’s “a lot more pressure in those games,” referring to past World Series as opposed to this one.
“I’ve learned a lot from the mistakes that I’ve made,” Jordan said.
But when talking about the talent in the USABA event, Jordan said, “I think it’s a lot better than what I’ve seen in different World Series.”
When assessing the Big League event vs. the USABA Tournament, Ryan said, “They’re pretty much the same. This one may have a little more talent.”
Langley was 7-0 and played Triple Play, Wash. on Wednesday for the right to advance to the championship round.
“We’re all pretty fired up about it,” said Jordan about possibly winning the tournament. “I think we’ve got a lot of confidence right now.”
Ryan agreed. “They’re real smart players,” he said. “They know the game. They’re very unselfish, too.
“I think we’ve got a shot. It’s up for grabs right now. It’s all who gets the better pitching performances.”
Langley would have been even stronger, but one of its players, pitcher Scott Mathieson, was a 17th round draft choice of the Philadephia Phillies and is pitching in the Gulf Coast League.
Charles Whisnand is the Nevada Appeal Sports Editor.