By Sheldon Christenson | The Record
The 2014 Little League tournament was held 17-18 July at Hettinger with nine teams involved. It was another excellent tournament with the younger players as Lemmon needed to play the IF game and pulled out a close 3-2 verdict over Bowman. Chase Marksen’s bases loaded triple in the first inning were all the runs Lemmon needed. Bowman chipped away with a run in the second inning and another run in the third, but would not score again. Bowman did have a runner on second with two outs in the bottom of the last inning but could not bring him home. Isaiah Encinas picked up the pitching victory while getting strike outs on 12 of the 15 Bowman outs. He had previously won the semi-final game by pitching Lemmon to a 3-1 win over Beach. That got them into the finals with no losses in the double elimination tourney.
Lemmon and Bowman took different paths to the championship game. Lemmon opened up with a win over Belfield, then defeated #1 seeded Scranton on the first day. They then downed Beach in their opening game on the second day and waited for a team to come out of the loser’s bracket to play next. Bowman was that team, but oh what a road they took. They came into the tournament as the #2 seeded team but got sent to the loser’s bracket with a 9-5 loss to Beach, who was seeded #7, in their opening game of the tourney. They followed that loss with victories over Buffalo and South Heart. They played five games on the second day downing in order, Scranton, New England, Beach and Lemmon before losing the IF game to Lemmon. My hats off to the Bowman team as they were always hustling and they also had an excellent fan base cheering them on.
I didn’t have a chance to see all the games but did watch three of Hettinger’s four games. They opened the first day with a 3-1 win over an inexperienced Buffalo team. Conner Andress picked up the pitching victory with hitting help from Ty Warbis and Tommy Buckmier as they both drove in a run in their three-run 3rd inning. Buffalo is trying to revitalize they summer baseball program after many years of not having any. I talked to one of the mothers of a Buffalo player and she told me that they only started last year and that was with T-ball.
Scranton was next for Hettinger and Scranton came out on top 3-1. That sent Hettinger to the loser’s bracket and they defeated Belfield to keep them alive. Their first game on the second day pitted them against New England.
Hettinger jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the first inning but could not score again as New England changed pitchers in the 2nd inning and brought in flame throwing Gabe Sorenson who stopped Hettinger cold while striking out 15 of 16 batters he faced. New England scored four in the 3rd inning to tie the game and it went into one extra inning with New England scoring one and winning the game 5-4. A good tournament for Hettinger as they came into the tourney as the #8 seed.
I watched young Sorenson earlier in their 4-2 win over South Heart as he recorded 14 strikeouts in the five inning game. Emily Dinius won that game for New England with a late inning two-run triple.
Overall, a very good tournament put on by Joey and Dave Erickson and their son Kye and the many others who assisted them.