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July 23, 2013

LITTLE LEAGUE ROUNDUP: Jeff 11-12s roll over Elwood

Ellis Ks nine in complete game

FORT WAYNE — The number nine was lucky for the Jeff/GRC 11-12-year-old All-Stars Tuesday night as they handled Elwood easily at the Little League state tournament in Fort Wayne’s Times Corner Little League.

Jeff scored nine runs on nine hits and starting pitcher Jack Ellis struck out nine while hurling a 74-pitch complete game to secure the 9-1 win.

Jeff will face Valparaiso today at 1 p.m. in an elimination game, which is essentially a state quarterfinal game.

The game didn’t begin smoothly for Jeff. The first three batters were retired in order in the bottom of the first.

“They came out a little tight,” Jeff coach Chuck Latham said of his players following the game, “but they relaxed fairly quickly. We told them, ‘Listen, he’s going to throw strikes, just relax, stay calm and confident,’ and they did.”

Jeff got on the board first in the second. Dylan Robinson drew a two-out walk and came around to score from first on Luke Thompson’s double up the middle.

Noah Hernandez led off the third inning with a single back up the box, moved to second when Brady Latham was walked, and scored on a single by Drew Taylor.

Coach Latham pushed the right buttons and called for the squeeze bunt with Luke Stock at the plate and Brady Latham at third.

“With Brady’s speed, we feel like we can do a lot of things. I gave stock the bunt sign, and he laid down a perfect one towards third base,” Latham said.

The two runs gave Jeff a 3-0 lead through three innings.

In the fourth, Turon Mitchell drew a one-out walk. He moved first to third on Drew Fifer’s bloop single into left field. Latham cleared the basepaths with a smash off of the concession stand in straightaway center.

Taylor followed suit with a blast of his own, a line drive to right-center field that got out quickly. Jeff led 7-0 with four innings completed.

Elwood scored it’s only run in the top of the fifth, a two-out solo home run to left-center field.

GRC added two more runs in the bottom of the fifth. Ethan English doubled to left and scored on Robison’s double to center. After moving to third on a sacrifice fly, Robinson was driven in by Joe LaGrange’s single to cap the scoring for Jeff at 9-1.

After the game, Latham was ecstatic about Ellis’ pitching effort.

“We thought he was just phenomenal,” Latham said. “He was very calm, very cool and got ahead of hitters. It was just what we needed in order to set up a favorable pitching situation going into tomorrow.”

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