The Licking County Junior Athletics are sporting a different look.

The Licking County Junior Athletics are sporting a different look.

"We've had quite a bit of turnover (since last year)," coach Ron Wintermute said as an up-and-down season continued with more mixed results. "This is the first time in a few years we have (almost) all (junior-varsity) kids, and we don't have any 17-year-olds. It's a young bunch, no question."

Hence, consistency and momentum have been hard to achieve.

The Junior A's won their opening six games only to drop the next six. They swept back-to-back weekend doubleheaders for the second time this summer with victories over Prospect Post 368B on June 20 and Chillicothe Post 62B on June 21, but a 6-5 loss to Zanesville Post 29B last Thursday was their second loss in three games and left the team with an 11-8 record entering doubleheader last Saturday against Glouster.

"It's tough with these age kids," Wintermute said.

"We're playing so much, and as hot as it's been here lately, it's been a struggle to stay focused."

The Junior A's, who also lost to Zanesville 10-6 last Tuesday but defeated Zanesville Rankin & Rankin 13-2 last Wednesday, have only one player who was a full-time varsity starter in the spring in Utica High School's Derek Beaver. Licking Valley's Tregg Hall and Heath's Nate Hunt saw limited varsity time.

"The games we've lost, most of them came against teams that were older than us," Wintermute said. "I think we're very competitive when we play teams that have kids our age, though."

Six area schools are represented on the team's roster. Granville's Seth Yoho and Licking Valley's Cory Workman have been among the offensive catalysts, and Newark Catholic's Michael Lewis, Beaver, Heath's Ethan Fleming and Lakewood's Michael Maynard are anchoring the pitching rotation. Also playing are Heath's Jordan Crabill, Licking Valley's Braynt Trout, Matt Hart and Brad Hollingshead and Newark Catholic's Nate Taylor.

The Junior A's, who won the Babe Ruth 16-years-old World Series in 2006 and the American Legion junior state title a year later, will play three home games this week beginning Tuesday against Chillicothe Post 757B at Don Edwards Park in Newark. Lancaster Post 11B will visit Wednesday and Granville Post 398 is Thursday's opponent.

"I'm just used to having older kids, and I think our inexperience has really hurt on the defensive side," said Wintermute, whose team is sponsored in part by American Legion Post 804. "I think we'll keep getting better, though, and we're probably better right now than I think we are."