LA SALLE — The first two games of the District 20 11-Year-Old Little League Tournament have been very good in different ways for Streator's Clay Christoff.
In Streator's opening win on Wednesday, Christoff had a trio of hits and knocked in five runs here at Adam Bernardi Field within Hegeler Park. Then in Thursday's 13-3, five-inning triumph over Ottawa American, the lad in red and white tallied three more RBIs while also tossing 3 1/3 innings of starting and winning baseball with five strikeouts to help his club advance to Saturday's 4 p.m. game against an opponent yet to be determined.
"I realized I had forgotten my bag at home about halfway riding here," said Christoff of Wednesday while shaking his head. "My mom dropped me off here and drove back to get it, so I kind of felt like I had to do good to try and make up for that. I still felt like that (Thursday), really."
Along with Christoff's solid contest, Cole Winterrowd (two RBIs), Joe Hoekstra (RBI) and Nolan Price (RBI) each collected a pair of hits for Streator, which scored three times in each of the opening two innings, added four more in the third and scored its final tally in the bottom of the fifth to invoke the 10-run rule.
Ottawa American, which plays again Friday night at 6 p.m., scored its three runs in the third and received three-his games from both Lucas Farabaugh and Ethan Snell (RBI), while Mayson Ruhland doubled, tripled and drove in a run.
"The boys played well again today ... we had a couple of silly errors, but hey, that's 11-year-old baseball, it's going to happen," said Streator manager Nick Price. "We talked after the game about not being complacent and to stay aggressive. Ottawa American has some really good hitters on their team, and we told the kids after they got those three back that the game was far from over and we needed to keep going.
"They did a really good job not getting down on themselves and responding."
Streator scored its three in the first on Christoff's sacrifice fly that scored Keagan Angelico after a leadoff single, one of four American errors and a run-scoring base hit by Nolan Price. In the second, Winterrowd's two-run double scored Kolden Neuman (bunt single) and Angelico (hit by pitch), and he scored on the same play after advancing to third on the throw home and to home on an errant throw to try an get him at third.
American answered with its three runs in the top of the third, as Farabaugh began the frame with a single. With two outs, Farabaugh scored on a Snell knock. Ruhland followed with a triple to deep center field to score Jacob Armstrong (hit by pitch) and Snell to make it 6-3.
Streator put up six runs in the bottom half of the inning, with the key at-bats coming from Brody Elias (RBI single), Angelico (RBI groundball) and Christoff (two-out, two-run single) to make it 12-3. Streator scored the final run in the fifth, as Hoekstra lined a base hit to center to score Christoff.
Elias also pitched 1 1/3 innings of scoreless relief.
"I was throwing almost all fastballs today ... I think I only threw maybe four curves. Everything was working for me today, although the heat was getting to me a little," Christoff said.
"I have just been waiting for the pitch I want the last two games. I think I hit the ball a lot harder (Wednesday night) than I did tonight, but as a team we have hit the ball pretty good. We've done good the last two games, and I'm really having fun."
At Adam Bernardi Field, La Salle
Streator 13, Ottawa American 3 (5 inn.)
OTTAWA AMERICAN (3) — Farabaugh p/ss 3-1-3-0, Liebhart ss/p/3b 3-0-1-0, Armstrong 2-0-0-0, Araujo cf/2b 3-0-0-0, Snell 2b/cf 3-1-3-1, Ruhland 3b/lf 3-0-2-2, A. Pescetto 1b 1-0-0-0, Carrier 2-0-1-0, Sexton rf 1-0-0-0, Nantz spr/rf 1-1-0-0, J. Pescetto lf 1-0-0-0, Graham lf/p 1-0-0-0. Totals 24-3-10-3.
STREATOR (13) — Angelico 2b 3-3-1-1, Winterrowd 1b 3-2-2-2, Christoff p/3b 3-0-1-3, Hoekstra c 4-1-2-1, Melvin lf 0-1-0-0, Stevens lf 2-1-1-0, Price ss 3-1-2-1, Wilkenson rf 1-1-0-0, Fowler rf 1-0-0-0, Galyen 3b 1-0-0-0, Elias 3b/p 1-1-1-1, Neuman cf/spr 1-2-1-0, Herrera cf 2-0-0-0. Totals 25-13-11-9.
Ottawa American 003 00 — 3 10 4
Streator 334 01 — 13 11 0
LOB — Ottawa American 7, Streator 4. 2B — Ruhland, Winterrowd, Hoekstra, Stevens. 3B — Ruhland. SF — Christoff. HBP — Armstrong (by Christoff), Angelico (by Farabaugh), Wilkenson (by Liebhart).
Ottawa American ip r er h bb k
Farabaugh (L) 1.1 6 3 5 1 1
Liebhart 2.2 6 5 4 2 4
Graham 0.2 1 1 2 0 0
Christoff (W) 3.1 3 3 6 0 5
Elias 1.2 0 0 4 0 1
Christoff scored with two outs to enforce the 10-run rule.