UPDATE: Monday’s play in the Little League Great Lakes Regional was interrupted by rain. Scheduling for the remainder of the tourney was being developed Tuesday morning.
Team Michigan had to know that Team Indiana was from a small town, but they had no way of knowing that half of the population of that small town would be in the stands Saturday to support Indiana’s team.
The never nervous members of Team Indiana served notice in their first at-bat that they were not intimidated by the bright lights of the big stage.
Jaykob Troutwine led off the top of the first inning by drawing a walk. Kaden Hall followed with a stand-up triple that drove Troutwine home for the first run of the game. Later Hall tried to score from third base when the Michigan pitcher uncorked a wild pitch to Graham Vinson. The Michigan catcher recovered quickly and was in position to tag Hall out easily, as he slid into home. Instead, Hall leapt over the catcher and came down safely on home plate to give Team Indiana a 2-0 lead. Michigan worked out of the inning with a double play and a strike out, but the damage was done, and Michigan never led in the game.
After Hall sat Michigan down 1,2 3, in the bottom of the first inning, Indiana tacked on three more runs in the top of the second inning by being very selective at the plate. The Michigan pitchers had trouble finding the strike zone, issuing five walks in the frame. Vinson and Nolan Cheeseman both drew RBI walks with the bases loaded. By the time Michigan finally worked out of the inning Indiana had scored three runs without collecting a hit and left three runners on base.
Michigan finally collected their first base hit in the bottom of the second inning, when Dylan Phillips stroked a one-out double, but Hall shook it off and struck out the next two batters to leave Phillips stranded.
Team Indiana loaded the bases again in the top of the third inning when Gavin White hammered a single to center field. Ben Golliher was hit by a pitch, and Carter Sullivan reached on a fielding error. Cole Wortman came on in relief and ended the threat. Wortman was the fourth pitcher Michigan used in the first three innings.
With one out in the bottom of the third, Hagerstown manager Patrick Vinson elected to take Hall off the mound, to keep his pitch count under 35, and replaced him with Heath Johnson. It was an abrupt change for Michigan to adjust to. Hall is primarily a fast ball pitcher. Johnson throws primarily breaking pitches.
Indiana added an insurance run in the top of the fourth inning, to extend their lead to 6-0. Vinson led off the inning with a double, moved to third on a wild pitch, and eventually came around to score on an RBI grounder from Cheeseman.
Michigan scored their only two runs in the bottom of the fifth inning. With two outs, Ethan Morgan reached base on a fielding error; Tommy Brennan was hit by a pitch, and Henry Getz also reached on an error to load the bases. Vinson made another pitching change to keep Johnson’s pitch count under 35 and brought in Graham Vinson. Henry Danielewicz greeted him with a two RBI single before Vinson ended the inning by coaxing a ground out from the next batter.
Neither team scored in the sixth inning, with Indiana claiming a 6-2 win. Indiana collected five hits and committed five errors. Michigan collected three hits and committed two errors. Michigan used six pitchers and they combined to issue eight walks. Indiana pitchers did not issue a walk.
Team Indiana Manager Patrick Vinson said that the game plan the coaches scripted went perfectly. “We decided before the game, that as long as we were in the lead, we would not let any of our pitchers throw over thirty-five pitches, so they would all be available for our game Monday.” Vinson explained. “It certainly helped that none of our kids issued a walk. I think Michigan underestimated us. Some of our kids overheard them saying that were we were not good enough to be here. You couldn’t ask for better motivation. We need to cut down on errors, but we will. I want to give credit to the bottom of our batting order. They just keep coming through for us. Without them we would not be where we are.”
Team Indiana will next face Kentucky, Monday, August 8, at 7:00 pm.
2 3 0 1 0 0 6
0 0 0 0 2 0 2
Winning Pitcher: Hall (I), Losing pitcher: Danielewicz (M) – Indiana Hits: Hall, Johnson, Vinson (2), White – Michigan Hits: Jack Babcock, Danielewicz, Phillips.