It doesn’t seem to matter who they play — the Wheelersburg 11-12 year-old All-Stars just keep on finding a way to win.
After claiming a 3-1 victory over Evergreen Park (Ill.) on Monday evening, the Lady Pirates didn’t miss a beat on Wednesday morning as Wheelersburg clobbered Appleton (Wis.) 13-5 to move to 2-0 in pool play in Group C of the Little League Softball Central Regional Tournament and clinch the No. 2 overall seed in the Westfield, Ind.
The 11-12s, who received three hits and two RBI from Macee Eaton along with a complete game six-hitter that included 11 strikeouts from AndiJo Howard, went on an offensive explosion against Appleton as the Lady Pirates collected 13 runs on nine hits in the contest.
Throughout its deep postseason run, the 11-12s have had every member of its unit step up to give the team a spark. That was evident again on Wednesday, when Grace Charles stepped up off of the bench to go 2-for-2 with two stolen bases and three RBI to help lead the Wheelersburg output from the No. 6 hole.
Eaton, who added a two-run blast on her lone hit of the day, scored three runs and stole two bases, and Mallory Logan added a 2-for-3 day at the dish with a stolen base and three additional runs scored to add to the tally as the Lady Pirates jumped out to a 9-0 lead en route to the 13-5 victory. Madison Whittaker (2-for-2, stolen base, run scored), leadoff hitter Kiera Kennard (1-for-3, RBI, two runs scored), and Sami Collins (1-for-4, RBI, run scored) also produced at the dish, while Madison Kotcamp stole a base and scored three crucial runs as a pinch runner.
Rounding out the standout performance was Howard, who followed up her 109-pitch effort on Monday evening with a 114-pitch complete game performance on Wednesday. Howard allowed just six hits and struck out nine batters while only allowing two earned runs in the victory.
With the win, Wheelersburg outscored Evergreen Park and Appleton by a combined 16-6 tally in pool play, which gave the Lady Pirates a No. 2 overall seed. Only Floyds Knobs (Ind.) — who outscored its pool play opponents, Marion County (Ky.) and Keystone (Neb.) by a 26-4 tally — performed better.
The opening round of tournament play, which was scheduled for Thursday, was postponed due to inclement weather. The 11-12s will play No. 7-seeded Appleton on Friday at 10 a.m. in the opening round of the single-elimination tournament, and, with a win, will play either No. 3-seeded Polk City (Iowa) or No. 6-seeded Bay County (Mich.) in the Little League Softball Central Regional Tournament Semifinals at 10 a.m. on Saturday. A win there would propel ‘Burg to the Little League Softball Central Regional Tournament Championship Game, which will commence at 12:30 p.m. the same day.
Reach Kevin Colley at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1930 OR on Twitter @ColleyKevin7