Howard 9-, 11-year-olds advance to regionalsPublished 12:40pm Monday, July 13, 2009
By SCOTT NOVAK
Niles Daily Star
The Howard Township 9-year-old All-Stars had little trouble winning the Cal Ripken Baseball state title this weekend at Pepper Martin Park.
Howard Township needed just three games to win the title and advance to the Ohio Valley Regional in Lexington, Ky.
Howard defeated Huron Valley 20-2 in its opening game, defeated Benton Harbor 7-2 on Saturday and then defeated Lanse Cruese North 9-0 in the championship on Sunday afternoon.
Lanse Cruese reached the finals by battling back through the consolation bracket after dropping its first game to Benton Harbor 11-7.
Lanse Cruese went on to defeat Huron Valley 12-8, Brandywine 20-2 and Benton Harbor 21-12.
In Sunday’s championship game, Connor Brawley and Bray Plomb combined on a no-hitter.
Lanse Cruese’s lone base runners came via the walk or a hit batter. In all, the visiting team had four runners reach base.
Howard scored a run in the first when Plomb tripled to drive in Jake LaLone, who had singled.
The All-Stars exploded for five runs in the second inning to break open the close contest.
LaLone drove in a pair of runs with an infield single, while Thomas Dunlap singled and drove in a run.
Mike Mudd tripled and scored on a wild pitch and Plomb doubled and drove in the other run for Howard Township.
Three more runs cross the plate in the third inning for Howard.
Drew Rudlaff singled and drove in a run, while Brawley doubled home a run and LaLone singled and drove in the game’s final run.
Lanse Cruese looked as if it might have had something going in the sixth inning, as with one out it drew three consecutive walks.
However, Dunlap’s throw to second picked off a runner for the second out and then Plomb struck out the final hitter.
Howard advanced to the finals with a win over Benton Harbor Saturday afternoon.
The All-Stars scored two runs in three straight innings to put the Tigers away.
Dunlap pitched five innings, allowing one run on four hits with seven strikeouts.
Brawley worked the final inning, striking out one.
Offensively for Howard, Plomb had an inside-the-park home run and a double, Dunlap two doubles, Hunter Bedell a single and a double and Mudd two singles.
LaLone had a single and two doubles for Howard, which also got three hits each from Brawley, Plomb, Nate Pierce and Jacob Weist.
Dunlap had two doubles for the All-Stars.
Brandywine did not fare well in the tournament, losing both games.
On Friday it was defeated by the Tigers.
Caleb Ott had a double for Brandywine, while also had a single from Damien Downham. Jakob Carson walked three times and scored a run.
On Saturday, Brandywine was eliminated from the tournament.
The Howard Township All-Stars defeated Brandywine 11-6 in the championship game down at Firemen’s Park to claim the state championship.
Complete results were unavailable at press time.