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Chase Loesch was the winning pitcher in New Albany's 7-2 win over Munster in the semifinal round of the Little League state finals at Decatur Little League in Indianapolis. 

 

WESTFIELD — Three New Albany pitchers — Chase Loesch, Jack Beyl and Cody Jackson — combined on a 3-hitter to help New Albany begin the Great Lakes Region tournament with a 6-1 win over St. Matthews (Ky.) on Sunday night at Grand Park in Westfield.

Loesch allowed just one unearned run on one hit in 3 2/3 innings and Beyl threw two scoreless frames, including a 1-2-3 fifth with three strikeouts. Jackson got the final out of the game.

New Albany threw just 83 total pitches, which could be a factor in a double-elimination tournament with pitch-count limits.

"Our pitching was great. And once again, our defense made big plays," New Albany manager Brian Jackson said. "Good pitching and good defense has been our formula."

Beyl will be eligible to pitch in Monday's game against New Albany (Ohio) at 1 p.m. The winner advances to Wednesday's winners' bracket final against either Grosse Pointe (Mich.) or Wausau (Wis.). After throwing 53 pitches, Loesch would be eligible for Wednesday's contest.

Grosse Point defeated Tri-Cities (Ill.) 7-2 in Sunday's first game.

Sunday's game was scoreless — and hitless — through two innings before New Albany exploded for three runs in the third. Loesch started the rally with a single past first base. After St. Matthews' first of two errors allowed Brian Wall to reach base, Luke Kruer drove in both runners with a double off the center-field fence. Kruer made it 3-0 when he scored on Beyl's single into center field.

After the Kentucky state champions got within 3-1 on a New Albany error in the fourth, New Albany added a run in the top of the fifth. Blaine Hamilton doubled with nobody out. His pinch-runner, Cooper Anderson, went halfway down the line on Kruer's ground ball. When he started to head back to third, St. Matthews' first baseman Bennett Holdener threw to third. Anderson broke for home and scored easily to make it 4-1.

New Albany added to its lead in the sixth thanks to an error and three wild pitches that allowed Landon Gum to score and an RBI single off the bat of Loesch, who finished 2-for-3 with a run and an RBI.

New Albany finished with five hits. Kruer drove in three of New Albany's six runs.

"It was a big win for our kids," Coach Jackson said. "Beating Kentucky's good [and] we got some nerves out."

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GREAT LAKES REGION

OPENING ROUND

NEW ALBANY 6, ST. MATTHEWS (KY.) 1

New Albany              003  012—6  5  2

St. Matthews (Ky.)    000  100—1  3  2

    W — Chase Loesch. L — Bennett Holdener. 2B — Luke Kruer (N), Blaine Hamilton (N).

    Records — New Albany 1-0, St. Matthews 0-1.

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GREAT LAKES REGION

At Westfield, Grand Park Sports Complex

OPENING ROUND

Sunday, Aug. 5

     Game 1 — Grosse Pointe Woods-Shore (Mich.) 7, Tri-Cities (Ill.) 2

     Game 2 — New Albany (Ind.) 6, St. Matthews (Ky.) 1

WINNERS' BRACKET SEMIFINALS

Monday, Aug. 6

     Game 3 — Wausau (Wis.) vs. Grosse Pointe (Mich.), 10 a.m.

     Game 4 — New Albany (Ohio) vs. New Albany (Ind.), 1 p.m.

ELIMINATION BRACKET QUARTERFINALS

Tuesday, Aug. 7

     Game 5 — Tri-Cities (Ill.) vs. Game 4 loser, 10 a.m. (losing team eliminated)

     Game 6 — St. Matthews (Ky.) vs. Game 3 loser, 7 p.m. (losing team eliminated)

WINNERS' BRACKET FINAL

Wednesday, Aug. 8

     Game 7 — Game 3 winner vs. Game 4 winner, 2 p.m. (winning team advances to Great Lakes championship)

ELIMINATION BRACKET SEMIFINAL

Thursday, Aug. 9

     Game 8 — Game 5 winner vs. Game 6 winner, 5 p.m.

ELIMINATION BRACKET FINAL

Friday, Aug. 10

     Game 9 — Game 7 loser vs. Game 8 winner, 5 p.m. (winning team advances to Great Lakes Championship)

GREAT LAKES CHAMPIONSHIP

Saturday, Aug. 11

     Game 7 winner vs. Game 9 winner, 5 p.m. (winning team advances to Little League World Series)