Last Modified: Monday, August 06, 2012 3:57 PM
WACO, Texas — The South Lake Charles All-Stars knew they were pretty good at hitting the ball. The rest of the participants in the Little League Southwest Regional are learning that as well.
Louisiana earned its second straight mercy-rule victory of the tournament Saturday evening as it cruised to a 14-0 victory over D’Iberville, Miss. The victory, combined with the 11-0 opening game win over New Mexico, has guaranteed SLC a trip into the second round of the tournament. South Lake Charles (2-0) will play Arkansas (0-2) Monday at 8:30 p.m. in the final game of first round.
In other Pool A play, the New Mexico All-stars (1-1) defeated Arkansas 11-1 in a five-inning game. Mississippi (1-1) will play New Mexico Sunday night to determine which team will join Louisiana in the semifinals.
SLC sent 14 batters to the plate in the bottom of the first inning and scored nine times as they cruised to the victory. Bryan Lawrence and Kirkland Banks each hit two-run home runs to lead the offensive explosion. For Banks, it was of the first of two he would hit in the game.
“It was very exciting to get the hits, I knew they were gone as soon as I hit them,” Banks said. “This is the first time I have ever hit two home runs in the same game, I am up there just trying to make contact.”
Although Monday’s game against Arkansas
may appear meaningless on paper, no one on the SLC team is looking past
“We want to beat Arkansas just as bad as we want to beat everyone else,” said SLC first baseman Mark Johnston. “There isn’t one game that is more important than another one. We have a team slogan that say ‘200 feet at a time,' we have another 200 feet to go coming up.”
The SLC All-stars collected 10 hits, walked six times and took advantage of three fielding errors. Banks lead the attack going 3-for-3 with three RBIs and two runs. Nate Briscoe and Parker Belaire combined for an additional three hits and four runs.
The SLC team has outscored its opponents 25-0 in the tournament. Not even team manager Fat Cat Joubert thought it would be this easy.
“We beat two very good state champions in the past two days. We know we can put up some runs and keep the other team from scoring, but it is a good feeling to see what we have done up to this point,” Joubert said. “We are going to play Arkansas with the same mind-set we played these two games and we can’t afford for our bats to go to sleep; we may be able to save some pitching, but we are keeping the same game plan.”
Mississippi had only four base runners in the game. Lawrence pitched 1 1/3 innings giving up two hits to get the win for SLC. Haeden Joubert pitched 2 2/3 in relief and did not allow a hit. He walked two and struck out two. The Mississippi All-Stars used four different pitchers with starter Michael Kozlowski lasting only 1/3 of an inning.
“The pitching and defense has been really good for us, obviously,” Johnston said. “As a team, we won’t get over confident, but we really didn’t think we would be hitting the way we are. Two home runs from Nate (Briscoe) last night, followed by another two home runs by Kirkland tonight is a little surprising. We need to carry that over into our next game.”