Lowell 14s rally to qualify for state
By Mark Smith email@example.com July 17, 2012 1:24PM
Lowell's Daron Hornickel connects on a pitch during a game against Lake Station on Monday, July 16, 2012, in Lowell. | Scott R. Brandush~Sun-Times Media
Junior Little League age-14
LOWELL (5-0) 3012530 === 14-11-7
Lake Station (6-2) 0202030 === 7-4-5
7-16-12, 98 degrees - game two - in Lowell
WP - Zak Dutro (2-0) 3K, 2 walks (5 inn.-96 pitches)
SAVE: Alex Howard #2 (LOWELL) 2k, 0 walks (2 inn.)
LP - Ivan Miranda 3K, 3 walks (4.3 inn - 92 pitches)
LAKE STATION (6-2)
Tyler Purtee (LF) 0-for-1
Noah Lara (3B) 0-for-4,
Ivan Miranda (P) 0-for-4
Jordan Maturo (RF) 1-for-3
Ryan Slavery (SS) 1-for-3, RBI
Jordan Powers (CF) 2-for-3, double, 3 RBIs
Jose Sanchez (C) 0-for-3
Francisco Ramirez (2B) 0-for-3
Jordan Clopton (1B) 0-for-2
Darian Hornickel (1B) 2-for-4, double, 3 RBIs
Zak Dutro (SS) 2-for-3, walk, double, 2 RBI
Issac (Ike) James (LF) 1-for-4, wall
Justin (JT) Thomas (P) 2-for-4, double, walk, 2 RBIs
Brandon Cory (C) 1-for-3, 2 walks, stolen base
Austin Trusiewich (3B) 2-for-4, doublem, 5 RBIs
Autsin Giordano (CF) 0-for-4
Josh Ham (RF) 0-for-1
Alex Howard (2B) 2-for-4
LOWELL (4-0) 0003 512 === 11-7-8
Lake Station (6-1) 0251 001 === 9-8-4
7-15-12, 92 degrees - game one - in - Lowell
WP - Justin Thomas (2-0) 6K, 2 walks (5.3 inn.) 96 pitches
SAVE: Alex Howard (LOWELL) 1K, 1 walk (1/3 inn.)
LP - Francisco Ramirez (1-1) 0K, 1 walk
starter: Ryan Slavey (LS) 7K, 5 walks (4.3 inn.) 93 pitches
Darian Hornickel (1B) 1-for-5, double
Zak Dutro (SS) 1-for-3, 2 walks, 2 RBIs
Issac (Ike) James (LF) 1-for-4, double, walk, RBI
Justin (JT) Thomas (P) 0-for-1, 3 walks
Brandon Cory (C) 2-for-3, walk
Austin Trusiewich (3B) 0-for-4
Autsin Giordano (CF) 1-for-4
Josh Ham (RF) 1-for-2, 2 walks
Alex Howard (2B) 0-for-2
LAKE STATION (6-1)
Joey Medrano (LF) 1-for-3, walk
Noah Lara (SS) 1-for-4, Sac Fly, RBI, walk
Ivan Miranda (2B) 1-for-4
Jose Sanchez (C) 1-for-4, RBI,
Ryan Slavey (P) 1-for-4, 2 runs scored
Jordan Maturo (RF) 2-for-4, HR, 2 RBIs
Jordan Powers (CF) 1-for-4, 3 stolen bases
Francisco Ramirez (3B) 0-for-2, walks
Jordan Clopton (1B) 0-for-3
Updated: July 17, 2012 1:24PM
LOWELL — They, at times, are not the best looking age-14 all-star team. In fact it’s fair to say the defense of the Lowell 14s could be termed sloppy, at times.
But this weekend, Lowell’s Junior Little League all-stars can also be called “state finalists.”
In two nights of wearing, grinding baseball in heat wave conditions, the Lowell 14s turned back a spirited Lake Station group 11-9 and 14-7 to win the sectional playoffs two games to none and qualify for the eight-team Junior Litttle League state championships in suburban Indianapolis this weekend.
The world of Little League state finals is always a little cloudy, but the Lowell (5-0) all-stars are on the way to Johnson County to play an as yet unnamed opponent Saturday at 4 p.m. (5 p.m. EDT) at the Greenwood Little League south of the metropolitan Indianapolis area.
The Lowell 14s should be proud. The home team rose from a dusty grave at the old Creekside Little League to reach the final eight in the state. Lake Station, which came to Lowell withn a six-game playoff winning streak, led Lowell 7-0 Sunday night after three innings. in 90-degree heat, Lowell made five errors in three innings. They looked like they were burnt toast.
“You can’t lose faith,” said Lowell catcher Brandon Cory, who has no trouble saying what he thinks. “I didn’t say much. I was just trying to be a leader. I said that we’ve got to jump on them because as soon as we jump on them, they’d be finished.
“The guys got on in front of me. I got a hit. We scored three (in the fourth) and we were back in it. The momentum was ours and we just had more heart than they did.”
Lowell scored all 11 runs in the last four innings to win game one and they overcame seven errors in game two to win by seven, with Austin Trusiewich driving in five runs to support the pitching of Zak Dutro, who alowed just four hits.
How can a team that made 15 errors win twice and what can they do about it before they head for Greenwood this weekend?
“The hardest part about an all-star team,” said Cory, “is the practice. We definitely had some issues getting everything together because we all used to play shortstop. Everybody’s a shortstop. For these games, we have to find out who can play where and who should play where.
“But we came through it and we got it together in the end. Really the hardest thing was the heat. It was 106 (on the field). All I know is that we’re heaedd down to state. We’ll work hard this week and hopefully get better.”
“We have better pitching than we thought we did now with (Alex) Howard.”
Howard pitched the final inning in game one and the final two innings in game two. He gave up no runs and no hits even though he did need a spectacular running catch by Austin Giordano to end the first game.
Giordano raced back towards the center field fence and made a stretching finger-tip grab of a potential two-run game-tying double by Lake Station’s Noah Lara for the final out.
Lowell never trailed in game two after Austin Trusiewich’s three-run double in the first inning. Trusiewich’s two-run single highlighted a five-run fifth ining that gave Lowell a 11-4 lead.
Lowell pitching allowed just four hits but errors made the game closer than it should have been.
Lowell (5-0) scored at least 10 runs in all five playoff games played in Lowell.
They know they have to play much better defense to win in the finals.
“I think we can.,” said Cory. “Our shortstop spot’s been a little cursed. Some of the issue is playing here. Its an advanatge and its also a disadvanatge because we think we know the hops and if we dont get them, we make errors.”
“We also have to call for the ball (in the air) better. Some of the runs we gave up just shouldnt have happened.
Most of Lowell’s erors have been in the infield.
Justin Thomas, who pitched 5 1/3 innings of the game one win Sunday, was one of a few who have played shortstop in the five playoff games for Lowell so far.
“It was fun,” he said. “I’ve never played short before. I liked first better; I’ve played there my whole life. But I’ll try my best. I think we get too excited and start throwing the ball all over the place. We can stop that.”
Lake Station (6-2) used six pitchers in game one and four in game two, carefully manipulating the Little League’s frustrating pitch count rules (no more than 19 pitches in consecutive games and no more than 95 in any game) to try to stay close.
The Lowell 14s won’t be favored at the finals. They only have 10 all-star players and they are certain to see much more experiencd teams.
The host league Greenwood Little League in the Center Grove school district will surely field a squad with a chance to win the state crown on its home field.
But if Lowell can hit and field enough to get to the final inning or two with any kind of a lead, Howard gives them a real chance to win.
“He’s just 13,” said his catcher Cory. “But once he gets his rhythym, it’s over. Those kids (Lake Station) couldn’t hit him.
“We didnt even use his curve ball. He’s got a good curve ball, too.”
Lowell will have to win two of thre pool play games to qualify for Tuesday’s semifinals. The state championship game is set for Tuesday night.