Dyer — While they may not have advanced out of pool play, the Lebanon 10U All-Stars finished off that state tournament play with a victory, topping Southeast Little League 7-3 Monday afternoon in Dyer.
“It is good for the kids,” Lebanon head coach Dave Ferrell said. “I thought they came in more focused today offensively and defensively; and did a much better job of just being relaxed at the plate and hitting the baseball. I think the pressure got to them the last couple of days and they knew they had some quality opponents. And in must win situations we struggled a little bit. But today we played more loosely and Garrett Harker got us going with a home run and we kept it up.”
Harker’s home run staked Lebanon to a 3-0 lead in the first inning and they never looked back.
After Southeast cut the lead to 3-1, Lebanon extended the lead to 4-1 on an RBI-single by Jarrett French in the third inning.
The lead then grew to 7-1 on a 2-run hit by Harker and an RBI-single by Michael Reese.
Lebanon gave up two unearned runs in the sixth, but never were threatened down the stretch.
“They were huge,” Ferrell said of the insurance runs. “Everyone did their part. We had a couple of kids bunt the ball and move runners into scoring position, we had a couple of flares fall for us when they seemed like they hadn’t been. Everyone contributed today and it felt really good for these kids to leave with a W.”
The biggest difference in Monday’s game, compared to the previous two games — a 7-1 loss to Valparaiso and a 9-3 loss to Don Ayres (Fort Wayne) — was the kids were more relaxed, Ferrell said.
“I think it showed in all the kids faces right at the beginning how nervous we were, especially at the plate,” Ferrell said after the Valparaiso game. “We didn’t do a good job of putting the ball in play when we needed too. But you have to come ready and I thought we were ready to go, just didn’t show up offensively. You have to hit in a tournament like this because the pitching is only going to last so long. The hitting has to be consistent.”
For more of this story, read Tuesday's Lebanon Reporter.