Hamilton West Side is off to a roaring start at the Little League Great Lakes Regional.
The locals scored at least two runs in every at-bat and exploded for 13 runs in the fourth inning Sunday afternoon, leveling Wausau National (Wis.) 22-4 in a 12-year-old baseball opener at Grand Park Sports Campus.
West Side hadn’t played since winning the Ohio championship July 22, but didn’t show much rust Sunday.
“It was definitely time to play,” said right fielder Katelyn Polido, who went 3-for-4 with two doubles and two RBIs. “We were very anxious because we had to wait so long. It was really fun, I’ll say that. It’s an amazing experience.”
Hamilton coach Ken Coomer said he wasn’t surprised because it’s the kind of hitting he sees most days from his squad.
“As a team, you expect it,” Coomer said. “Our team is set up where we can hit and play the better defensive players in the field. We didn’t know how we’d come out with two weeks off, but we’ve been hitting a lot in practice. We were patient at the plate. It was just a matter of getting through the jitters in the first inning.”
Braedyn Moore was 3-for-4 with five RBIs and four runs. He capped that fourth-inning outburst by lining a grand slam over the center-field fence.
Lake Cundiff, Davis Avery and Ethan Mueller combined on an eight-hitter for West Side, which will send ace Moore to the mound to face Grosse Pointe Woods-Shores (Mich.) at 10 a.m. on Monday at Grand Park.
Cundiff officially threw 20 pitches against Wausau in 1.1 innings, and Avery totaled 35 pitches in 2.1 frames. Mueller got the last out in the run-rule affair.
“We took a little gamble being up 7-1 and took Cundiff out after 20 pitches so he’d be available for relief Monday, and it paid off,” Coomer said. “It’s set up how we want it. We know Michigan can hit, but we’re confident in B-Moore going out there and throwing the ball.”
Avery (2-for-4, double, homer, two RBIs), Casey Parsons (2-for-2, solo homer) and Logan Bell (two RBIs) contributed to a 15-hit attack for Hamilton, which is making its 17th regional appearance. Blake Detherage had two hits and an RBI, and Jared Halupnik also plated a run.
Parsons, West Side’s No. 7 hitter, walked twice and raised his batting average to .688 in five state/regional games.
“He’s done his job,” Coomer said. “He’s patient. He’s been walking more. He’s hitting more of his pitch.”
Wausau, previously at the regional in 2003 and 2007, had a run in every inning and got home runs from Keagen Jirschele and Eli Gustafson. Jacob Pease added an RBI, and Jirschele and Landon Parlier both had two hits.
The Wisconsin champions used five pitchers — Blake Nichols, Parlier, Lucas Hager, Jirschele and Brandt Rice. Every hurler gave up at least three runs.
“They pounced on us,” Wausau coach Jeremy Jirschele said of Hamilton. “They’ve been here before and been through this, and there’s a reason for that. It means they’re a good program. They swung it really well and pitched it well and kept our hitters off balance.
“I would say our kids were nervous. We made some plays that are not typical of our boys. But at the same time, don’t take anything away from them. Regardless of how we played, they went out there and took it from us.”
West Side sent 17 batters to the plate in the fourth. Wausau’s pitching contributed five walks and hit one batter in the inning.
“They never stopped competing and never let up at all, but it was a respectful 22 runs that they put up on us,” Jirschele said. “I understand that, and it’s appreciated. I just hope we can bounce back. It’s fortunate that you have room for one hiccup and Little League gives you another opportunity to go out and battle again.”
West Side 252-(13)—22-15-1
Wausau National 111-1—4-8-3
WP — Lake Cundiff; LP — Blake Nichols; HR — WS: Braedyn Moore, Davis Avery, Casey Parsons; WA: Keagan Jirschele, Eli Gustafson