GREENWOOD — Bryce and Preston Kernen were a twin killing on the mound while Preston Burton sparked the offense for the Silver Creek All-Star team Thursday.
The Kernen twins combined to hold Lebanon to a pair of runs, while Burton smacked a go-ahead grand slam to lead Silver Creek to an 11-2 win on the second day of State Tournament pool play at Greenwood Little League. The victory was a big bounce-back for Creek following Wednesday’s 2-0 loss to Brownsburg.
“We came out really aggressive,” said Silver Creek coach Damon Lewis, whose team tallied five runs in the second and fifth frames and one in the fourth. “We put a goose egg up on the board [Wednesday]. I think they were anxious to get the bats going and score some runs. I’m happy it worked out for us.”
Silver Creek will face Chet Waggoner from South Bend at 11 a.m. today in its final pool-play game. The winner will advance to Saturday’s semifinals.
“We’re going to come out firing away and see what happens,” Lewis said.
What happened in Thursday’s first inning — Lebanon tallied two runs off Bryce Kernen — slightly concerned Lewis. Those worries, however, disappeared when Silver Creek turned a double play to end the top of the second.
“That really just boosted their confidence,” Lewis said. “They came running into the dugout — it all kind of snowballed from there.”
Creek took control in the bottom of the inning. With two outs, Spencer Durham singled up the middle. Bryce Kernen then helped his own cause with an RBI triple to the center-field fence that made it 2-1. Then, after Karson Cook walked, Ross Jackson was hit by a pitch to load the bases for Burton. The third baseman promptly blasted the first pitch he saw over the fence for a grand slam.
“After that you could tell it really deflated Lebanon,” Lewis said.
Silver Creek tacked on another run in the fourth and five more in the fifth. That was more than enough for the Kernen brothers. Bryce Kernen yielded two earned runs on six hits while striking out two.
“Then his brother pitched great, too,” Lewis said.
Preston Kernen allowed five hits while striking out two in three shutout innings to pick up the victory. The Kernens also helped their own cause at the plate, combining to go 3-for-3 with two RBIs and three runs scored.
In all, five players — Burton, Cullen Garloch, Jackson Murphy, Durham and Preston Kernen — tallied two hits apiece for Silver Creek. Burton finished with five RBIs.
“Everybody was just doing their job,” Lewis said. “It all started to come together in that second inning.”
Lewis said he will start Durham in today’s game, but will likely only allow him to throw 20 pitches in order to keep him eligible for Saturday.
INDIANA STATE TOURNAMENT
Thursday’s pool play game at Greenwood Little League
SILVER CREEK 11, LEBANON 2
Lebanon 200 000 — 2 11 0
Silver Creek 050 15X — 11 12 0
W — Preston Kernen. L — Acton. 2B — P. Kernen (SC), Spencer Durham (SC), Cullen Garloch (SC), Acton (L), Rubi (L). 3B — Bryce Kernen (SC). HR — Preston Burton (SC).
Pool B standings: Brownsburg 2-0, Chet Waggoner 1-1, Silver Creek 1-1, Lebanon 0-2.