All-Star roundup: Vidalia Nationals eliminated at state

Published 12:03 am Tuesday, July 14, 2015

LAKE CHARLES, La. — The Vidalia Nationals Little League 11- and 12-year-old All-Stars were just one win away from advancing to the championship game of the state tournament and a possible showdown with the Vidalia Americans.

And against the Blanchard All-Stars on Monday afternoon, the Vidalia Nationals were just one inning away from doing just that. However, Blanchard responded with an eight-run rally in the top of the sixth inning and held on for a 14-11 win.

“Going into the top of the sixth inning, we were ahead 7-6 and they scored eight runs on us. They put the ball in the right place,” Vidalia Nationals coach Boo Blaney said. “They hit a lot of base hits. We did make an overthrow once.”

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Staring down that seven-run deficit of their own, the Vidalia Nationals would not go away quietly. They scored four runs in the bottom of the sixth to make it a 14-11 game, but they were unable to keep the rally going.

“The girls had a lot of heart. They dug deep. They just couldn’t put it together when they needed to. We had a few hits,” Blaney said.

Even though Becca Cowan was charged with the loss, Blaney said that she pitched a good game through the first five innings.

The loss was the second one of the tournament for the Vidalia Nationals, meaning their season has come to an end.

Vidalia Americans 11-12s 1, Lake Charles Red 0

LAKE CHARLES, La. — Madeline Smith pitched a no-hitter and Andy Gray scored the game-winning run in the bottom of the sixth inning as the Vidalia Americans Little League 11- and 12-year-old All-Stars defeated Lake Charles Red 1-0 Monday night in a winners’ bracket game at the state tournament.

After a single and a pair of bunt singles started off the bottom of the sixth inning, the Vidalia Americans had the bases loaded with no outs. But a sacrifice bunt attempt led to the runner at third, Harlie Murray being forced out at home plate. However, the bases remained loaded.

Gray scored when Annalyce Riley flied out to deep shortstop in shallow left field, beating the throw to home plate to send the Vidalia Americans to the state championship game.

“The last inning for us, we had the top of the lineup up,” Vidalia Americans coach Barry Iseminger said. Those players were Murray, Gary and Allie Feltus, whose bunt single loaded the bases and put the pressure on Lake Charles Red.

Smith went all six innings, striking out three batters and walking five.

“She stepped up big again,” Iseminger said. “She got in some jams. Behind her pitching and the defense behind her, she got out of those jams. The catcher, Fisher Iseminger, threw three runners out. That helped erase some of their base runners.”

The Vidalia Americans will play again at 6 p.m. Wednesday against the winner of today’s game between Lake Charles Red and Blanchard for the state title.

Columbia 20, Natchez 5s-6s 8

MAGEE — The Natchez Dixie Youth 5- and 6-year-old All-Stars could not muster enough offense to stay with an outstanding Columbia All-Stars team in a 20-8 loss Monday night at the state tournament.

“We came up against an unbelievable team. We played great, but we lost to a better team,” coach Luke Janette said. “They’re the only undefeated team left in the state tournament.”

“We just got beat by the best team in the state,” coach Brian Massey said.

Despite having their season come to an end with the loss, the Natchez 5- and 6-year-old All-Star team received perhaps just as big of an honor as winning the state title – the Sportsmanship Award.

“We go the biggest honor in the SweeTees division after the game. Out of the nine teams, we received that (achievement),” Janette said. “We’re very proud of that.”

Four players for Natchez went 2-for-2 with a double – Caroline Carlton, Kenya Guance, Kessley Maples and Vivian Varnado. Missy Blackmon, Allie Grace Janette and Emery Kate Lewis each had a double, and Ally Blanton was 2-for-2.