South Caroline Little League tops
By the time the Pool B
showdown between the Mid-Atlantic and Great Lakes was completed,
the scoreboard looked like gibberish. Seven runs for the South
Caroline Little League from Preston, Md. on three hits? It simply
did not make sense.
Unfortunately for the
Owensboro Southern Little League, the line score was indeed
accurate. Maryland had capitalized on Great Lakes ace Cole
Sturgeon’s control problems and bested the Kentucky squad 7-2 in
front of 7,477 at Volunteer Stadium.
Sturgeon, who twice
had struck out 17 of a possible 18 batters in the Great Lakes
regional, was being built up as the marquee player for the Great
Lakes squad. The lefty throws a fastball that scorches by hitters
at speeds of up to 77 mph and a knee-buckling curveball.
Regrettably for Kentucky, not only was Sturgeon’s location off on
Saturday afternoon, but Maryland had an ace of their own. The
Kentucky ace was out-dueled by Maryland’s number one starter,
DeShields tossed a
complete game, striking out nine in his winning effort. “I
felt confident today,” said the Maryland hurler.
“Davonta came over to
me after the first inning and said that he felt confident getting
his curveball over,” manager Curtis Payne said. “I gave him some
more chances to throw the curve and he was spotting it really
Sturgeon was wild in
the first inning, walking two and hitting DeShields with a pitch.
Sturgeon’s lack of control coupled with a bobbled grounder by
shortstop Jonathon Higdon resulted in a South Caroline run in
their first at bat. Though he had not given up a hit, Sturgeon
suddenly found himself trailing.
The Maryland lead
would not last for long. After fanning Luke Daugherty, DeShields
walked consecutive hitters and then a seeing-eye single plated
special pinch runner Donte Washington from second. Two batters
later, pinch hitter Stephen Hardy sent a chopper up the middle
that brought in Bryson Morrow and gave Kentucky the 2-1 lead.
The lead flip-flopped
again in Maryland’s next trip to the plate. Sturgeon again ran
into control problems, loading the bases with back-to-back walks
and another hit batsman. With the bases full, Maryland clean up
hitter Brady Hare sent a deceiving fly ball to centerfield.
Kentucky centerfielder Andrew Webb misjudged the fly ball and the
potential third out skipped off the diving fielder’s mitt. Two
runs scored on the error. Kentucky was now down 3-2 despite the
fact that Sturgeon had yet to surrender a base hit.
lasted until the bottom of the fourth inning, when Hare demolished
a Sturgeon offering into the right-centerfield gallery. After
Hare’s two-run blast, Kentucky manager Vic Evans Jr. opted to
relieve Sturgeon with Jonathon Higdon.
Sturgeon suffered the
loss, allowing five runs (two earned) on five walks and four hit
bastman in 3.1 innings.
“I don’t think it was
nerves,” said Evans Jr. “Some days you go out on the mound and you
feel like a million bucks, and some days you go out there and you
couldn’t hit water if you fell out of a boat.”
Maryland tacked on two
more insurance runs in their half of the fifth frame with a
two-run double down the leftfield line by four-foot-11 second
baseman Hunter Bennett.
“Looks can be
deceiving,” said Payne. “Hunter can hit the ball.”
for box scores.