F.O.P. 10-year-olds win first two at State Tournament

Published 12:01 pm Monday, August 4, 2003

By By DAN WEISS / Niles Daily Star
JACKSON -- When you love to play baseball as much as the Niles F.O.P. Little League 10-year-old All-Stars do, you don't want your season to end.
The All-Stars made sure they would still be playing this week with a pair of wins at the Michigan State Tournament in Jackson over the weekend.
Niles beat Dexter 9-4 Saturday afternoon and followed it up with a 4-1 win over North Saginaw Sunday afternoon. The F.O.P. All-Stars play again tonight at 6 p.m. against Grosse Pointe American in the semifinals of the winner's bracket.
That attitude paid off in both games as the F.O.P. All-Stars found themselves behind early in both contests.
On Saturday the All-Stars were behind 3-0 before a nine-run rally in the fifth inning put the game out of reach.
On Sunday, North Saginaw scored in the second inning to take a 1-0 lead, but Niles bounced back to score three runs and take the lead for good in the next inning.
Against Dexter, the F.O.P. All-Stars had only three hits going into the fifth inning. After the fifth-inning rally, however, several players ended up with multiple hits.
Rashad Harris led Niles on Sunday with two triples and a single. David Gardner added three singles while Montrell Merritt, Dustan Craig and Nathaniel Oates each hit two singles. Nick Lucero, Evan Zimmerman, Dustin Wright and Kelvin Tweedy each hit one single on Saturday.
Craig started on the mound for Niles on Saturday. Nick Lucero came on for the save.
Against North Saginaw, Gardner started on the mound and was relieved by Tweedy in the second ining. Tweedy lasted the rest of the game for the victory.
Niles had only four hits against North Saginaw, but took advantage of several errors to score enough runs to secure the victory.
Harris hit a double and stole home. Derek Kardisco, Montrell Merritt and Gardner each hit singles with Merritt and Tweedy picking up RBIs.
A victory in tonight's matchup would send the F.O.P. All-Stars into the finals of the winner's bracket on Wednesday night at 6 p.m. A loss would send Niles to the loser's bracket where they would also play Wednesday night at 6 p.m.