South Caro­line slugs its way to Dis­trict 6 cham­pi­onship

Record Observer - - Sports - By CHRIS KNAUSS ck­nauss@star­dem.com

South Caro­line 10 Eas­ton 5

RIDGELY — With their po­tent of­fense lead­ing the way, South Caro­line’s 1112 all-stars com­pleted a four-game sweep through the Dis­trict 6 Lit­tle League base­ball tour­na­ment Satur­day evening in Ridgely.

Light­ning ap­peared in the sky at the top of the fifth in­ning af­ter South Caro­line had al­ready struck for seven runs in the sec­ond in­ning. Com­bined with three runs in the first, South Caro­line claimed a 10-5 vic­tory over Eas­ton to win the dis­trict ti­tle and ad­vance to the Mary­land State Tour­na­ment.

The game ended af­ter four com­plete in­nings due to spo­radic light­ning and dark­ness set­tling in. It was South Caro­line’s sec­ond win over Eas­ton in the tour­na­ment, the other one an 18-5 win last Sun­day.

Cameron Gon­deck ripped a two-run sin­gle and Joey Parmer fol­lowed with a tworun home run to highlight South Caro­line’s 7-run sec­ond.

Chad Wil­loughby pitched the first three in­nings for South Caro­line and Austin Walls re­tired Eas­ton in or­der in the fourth.

South Caro­line scored 55 runs in four games while lim­ited op­pos­ing teams to 15.

Eas­ton took the only lead against South Caro­line in the tour­na­ment in the top of the sec­ond when a grand slam by Toby Webb gave Eas­ton a 5-3 lead. But South Caro­line re­sponded with its seven-run sec­ond for the game’s fi­nal runs.

“The main thing was even though we got be­hind, which we never had, they stayed in the game, kept their heads up and bat­tled,” said South Caro­line man­ager Mike Wil­loughby.

Chandler Tin­dall started South Caro­line’s of­fense in the home sec­ond with a walk. An er­ror on a grounder off the bat of Carter Walters put run­ners on first and sec­ond. Chad Wil­loughby then belted a high fly to right that eluded Eas­ton’s right fielder to al­low Tin­dall to score. Walls then reached base on an in­field hit, which plated Walters to tie the game at 5s.

Ja­son Rowan fol­lowed with a base­hit to right to knock in Wil­loughby. With two outs, Gon­deck and Parmer con­nected with their back-to-back 2-RBI smacks to make it 10-5.

Mike Wil­loughby cred­ited his team’s hit­ting suc­cess to hard work. “Even in the off-sea­son, most of the team plays travel ball and hits through­out the win­ter, not just dur­ing the ball sea­son.”

Chad Wil­loughby, suf­fer­ing from some early wild­ness, bat­tled through it to leave eight Eas­ton run­ners stranded in the first three in­nings. He in­duced a ground out to leave the bases loaded in the first. Af­ter Webb’s grand slam in the sec­ond, Eas­ton loaded the bases again but Wil­loughby was able to strike out a bat­ter for the third out.

In the third, Eas­ton loaded the bases with no outs, but couldn’t punch a run across. South Caro­line third base­man Josh Co­hee made a fine stop on a hard hit grounder and threw to home for the first out. Wil­loughby struck out the next bat­ter and in­duced an­other grounder that ended up with an out at the plate.

“We ba­si­cally rode three pitch­ers the whole time, which hit­ting the ball al­l­lowed us to do that,” said Mike Wil­loughby. “We only re­ally played like 16 in­nings and that was big as far as pitch count.”

Webb was forced home on a walk to Jimmy Har­ris to put Eas­ton ahead 1-0 in the first.

South Caro­line coun­tered with three runs in the bot­tom of the first that started with a base­hit up the mid­dle by Wil­loughby (3 for 3). Walls and Rowan walked to load the bases. With one out, a short pop off the bat of Gon­deck fell into the in­field to knock in Wil­loughby and two more run­ners came home on an er­ror for a 3-1 lead.

Tris­tan Cas­sell went 3 for 3 for Eas­ton, which fin­ished the tour­na­ment with a 4-2 record.

South Caro­line will meet the Dis­trict 2 cham­pion at Stetham Park in Wal­dorf in the open­ing round of the dou­ble-elim­i­na­tion state tour­na­ment Satur­day at 1 p.m. Fol­low me on Twit­ter @csknauss Email me at ck­nauss@star­dem.com

PHOTO BY CHRIS KNAUSS

South Caro­line left-handed short­stop Austin Gless­ner tags and forces out Eas­ton’s Tris­tan Cas­sell in the first in­ning Satur­day evening in Ridgely.

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