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July 26, 2013

LITTLE LEAGUE ROUNDUP: Jeff bows out of 11-12 state tournament

Henryville opens regional with shutout victory

FORT WAYNE — The 11-12-year-old Jeff/GRC All-Stars’ season came to a close Thursday afternoon with a 12-5 loss in the state semifinals to Hagerstown at Fort Wayne’s Don Ayers Little League.

GRC left the bases loaded three times in the game, stranding a total of 13 baserunners.

“The tale of this game was the amount of runners we left on base,” Jeff coach Chuck Latham said.

Brady Latham needed only eight pitches to retire the side in order for GRC in the first inning. In the bottom half of the inning, Jeff loaded the bases with no outs, but Hagerstown got out of the jam with two strikeouts and a pop fly.

Hagerstown had runners at first and third with no outs in the second after a leadoff single and an uncharacteristic infield error by Jeff. Hagerstown’s Mason Hicks turned on an 0-2 pitch and sent it out of the park for a three-run homerun.

“The momentum definitely switched on that hit,” Latham said.

Hagerstown scored four more runs in the inning to lead 7-0.

GRC rallied in the bottom of the second to bring four runs in and cut the lead to three at 7-4. Luke Thompson drew a leadoff walk, moved to second on a fielder’s choice, to third on Turon Mitchell’s hit and he scored on Latham’s single. After Drew Taylor was hit by a pitch, Luke Stock worked a bases-loaded walk to score Mitchell. Ehan English then singled, scoring Latham and Taylor.

“It was an exceptional feeling knowing our kids never gave in,” Coach Latham said.

Hagerstown scored three more in the fourth and twice in the sixth.

Jeff only scored one more run as Taylor crossed the plate for the second time in the sixth.

Coach Latham said was proud of his group for the mettle they showed in the tournament.

“After losing that first game [13-3 to South Bend Waggoner] the kids came out still knowing they could compete. They went down fighting,” he said. “We had a great group of kids and we emphasised the term family. It really became just that.

“I couldn’t ask for two better assistants than Lance Stock and Tim Lagrange. Those two guys are very special people, who are great with kids. They have a wealth of knowledge and expertise. Our group benefitted tremendously from them. As these kids grow up, they’ve got a bright future playing this game. They’re a talented group.”

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