LA SALLE — When a baseball team opens a double elimination tournament with only four teams involved, it's important no only to get off on the right foot, but to send a message to those other three clubs that you're going to be a tough team to beat.
And that's exactly what the Ottawa American 11-year-old All-Stars did against Peru on Wednesday night.
The Americans clubbed 13 hits in their District 20 11-year-old Tournament opener against Peru, 10 of those coming as they posted 10 runs in the first two innings, propelling them to a one-sided 13-2, five-inning victory over that foe here at Bernardi Field at La Salle's Hegeler Park.
Six of the nine American starters collected two of those hits, including Ethan Snell with a double, triple and four RBIs and Jacob Armstrong with a single, double and three driven in on the night. Lucas Farabaugh added a pair of doubles, Mayson Ruhland a single and double and Joey Liebhart and Kaden Araujo two singles each for the winners.
Araujo pitched the first 2 1/2 innings of scoreless baseball, allowing two hits and one walk while striking out three, while Joey Pescetto fired the last 2 2/3 to pick up the win in relief. He gave up six hits, but no walks and fanned three. But the big story was the Ottawans' bats battering four Peru hurlers for the convincing win. The Americans will next face Streator at 6 p.m. tonight., while Peru will face Ottawa National at 8 p.m.
"We were hitting. It was great," said Ottawa manager James Armstrong. "It's great to see, especially for the first game of the tournament. We really stressed getting up there and getting the bat on the ball, that we had to come out hitting. To win in baseball, you have to score more runs than your opponent, and we did that tonight. And our pitching was good.
"Getting ahead, we want them to be relaxed, but not too relaxed. I know because I've seen some crazy rallies, so you can't let up. It felt good to get up early and again to add on late."
Ottawa jumped on top with two in the top of the first against Peru starter Nolan Wieczorek on Farabaugh's first double, an infield single by Liebhart and a two-run single to right field by Armstrong. However, the deciding frame was the second when the locals posted eight runs, all of them with two outs. A single by Ruhland and, after the second out, another two-bagger by Farabaugh opening the scoring.
A run-scoring double by Liebhart chased Wieczorek from the mound in favor of Tyler Spelich, but after a walk to Armstrong and an infield single by Araujo loaded the bases, Anthony Pescetto plated a run with another infield hit. That's when Snell cleared the loaded bags with a double to right.
After a walk to Jack Pescetto, a Ruhland two-run double capped the rally.
After a Nolan O'Brien RBI single got Peru on the board in the fourth frame to force another inning, Ottawa added three more runs, all unearned, on a pair of wild pitches and a run-scoring triple by Snell.
An RBI double by Griffin May, the last of his three hits on the day, created the final.
"What can you say? It's tough to come back from being down 10-0, in the heat, the kids were down, but they didn't give up," said Peru manager Brandon May. "Things didn't go the way we expected them to go at the start, but we held them to 3-2 over the next three innings, so that's something. For the game as a whole, it was just a different story."
At Bernardi Field, La Salle
District 20 11-year-old Tournament
Ottawa 13, Peru 2 (5 inn.)
OTTAWA (13) — Farabaugh ss 3-3-2-1, Liebhart 2b 3-3-2-0, Armstrong c 3-1-2-3, Araujo p-cf 4-1-2-0, Carrier 1b 3-1-0-0, A. Pescettoi 1b1-1-1-1, Snell lf 4-1-2-4, J. Pescettoi cf-p 3-1-0-0, Ruhland 3b 2-1-2-2, Graham 3b 0-0-0-0, Sexton rf 2-0-0-0, Nantz rf 1-0-0-0. Totals 29-13-13-11.
PERU (2) — Rynkiewicz ss 3-1-1-0, Spelich 2b-p 2-0-0-0, Marx 2b 1-0-0-0, May cf 3-1-3-1, Hackenberg c 3-0-1-0, O'Brien lf 3-0-2-1, Raef 3b 1-0-0-0, Pierski 3b 1-0-1-0, Burkhart rf-2b-p2-0-0-0, Konieczki 1b-rf-p 2-0-0-0, Wieczorek p-1b 1-0-0-0. Totals 22-2-8-2.
Ottawa 280 03 — 13 13 0
Peru 000 11 — 2 8 2
LOB – Ottawa 6, Peru 6. 2B – Farabaugh 2, Liebhart, Ruhland, Rynkiewicz, May. 3B – Snell, May.
Ottawa ip r er h bb k
Araujo 2.1 0 0 2 1 3
J. Pescetto (W) 2.2 2 2 6 0 3
Wieczorek (L) 1.2 5 5 6 0 2
Spelich 1.0 5 5 5 1 0
Burkhart 1.1 0 0 1 1 2
Konieczki 1.0 3 0 1 2 0