Junior League district champs

Published 4:15 pm Wednesday, July 18, 2007

By By SCOTT NOVAK / Niles Daily Star
NILES – The Niles All-Stars were down to their last out Tuesday night at Thomas Stadium and trailed Vicksburg by two runs.
Niles had runners at second and third for Rashad Harris, who delivered a clutch two-run single to tie the score at 8-8.
A walk to Jeremy Zimmerman and a stolen base by Harris put the winning run just 90-feet away.
Nathan Oates came through with the game-winning hit to give Niles a 9-8 victory and a Michigan District 15 championship.
It was a battle all night long for Niles, which trailed 3-0 after a half inning play.
The All-Stars stuck together and cut the lead to 3-1 in the bottom of the first and then tied the score at 3-3 with a pair of runs in the third inning.
Niles took its first lead of the night in the fourth inning, only to give up three runs in the fifth.
Trailing Vicksburg 6-4, Niles scored twice in the bottom of the sixth to once again knot the score, this time at 6-6.
Vicksburg bounced back and grabbed a two-run lead in the top half of the seventh with a pair of runs.
With two outs in the bottom of the seventh, Dustin Bell drew a walk to start the winning rally. Justin Hughes then singled to right-center which allowed Bell to head to third.
On the play, Hughes took second as no one covered the bag for Vicksburg.
That set the stage for the heroics of Harris and Oates. Going into the seventh, the two were a combined 2-for-6. Harris and Oates did head into their final at-bats having singled and doubled respectively in the sixth inning.
Both teams moved the ball around the park pretty well and the pitchers did their jobs for the most part.
Defensive lapses by both teams led to runs, which kept the game close.
Niles finished with 12 hits, led by Oates, who doubled and singled and drove in two runs. Harris also had two hits and two RBIs, while Justin Hughes also had two hits and two RBIs.
David Sokolowski had two singles and an RBI for Niles, which got two singles from Zimmerman.
Alex LaPorte had a pair of doubles and an RBI for Vicksburg. Kaleb Nuesbaum and Jesse Boulemour singled twice and drove in runs. Max Ganun added a double.
Niles will now head to Vicksburg on Saturday to play a doubleheader against the winner of District 3 (Jackson area) in the Sectional round.
The first game is slated for 11 a.m. and the second game for 2 p.m.
A third game, if necessary, will be played on Monday at 6 p.m.
The sectional winner advances to the state tournament at South Portage near Kalamazoo.
Championship Game
Vicksburg 300 030 2 – 8 10 2
Niles 102 102 3 – 9 12 6
WP – David Sokolowski (N)
LP – Zack Flipse (V)
2B: Alex LaPorte (V) 2, Max Ganun (V), Dustin Bell (N), Nathan Oates (N)