South Caroline slugs its way to District 6 championship
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 email@example.com
South Caroline left-handed shortstop Austin Glessner tags and forces out Easton’s Tristan Cassell in the first inning Saturday evening in Ridgely.