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New Castle 10U team wins District 6 Tournament

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Members of the Hagerstown Little League Baseball 10U All-Star Team wait in line to receive their runner-up pins after falling to New Castle 8-0 in Thursday evening’s championship game of the Indiana District 6 Tournament at Hagerstown’s Mike Beeson Field.
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Darin Reynolds of the New Castle Little League Baseball 10U All-Star Team is about to fire a pitch toward home plate against a Hagerstown batter during Thursday evening’s Indiana District 6 Tournament championship game at Hagerstown’s Mike Beeson Field. Reynolds pitched brilliantly, going the distance and giving up no runs, no walks, and two hits while striking out seven, as New Castle claimed the title with an 8-0 victory.
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Hayden Pruitt of the Hagerstown Little League Baseball 10U All-Star Team gets ready to hurl a pitch toward the plate against a New Castle batter during Thursday evening’s championship game of the Indiana District 6 Tournament at Hagerstown’s Mike Beeson Field. Pruitt absorbed the loss on the mound, but did get his team’s only two hits on offense as New Castle won 8-0 to claim the tourney title.
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Players and coaches of the New Castle Little League Baseball 10U All-Star Team pose with the banner proclaiming them champions after defeating Hagerstown 8-0 Thursday evening in the championship game of the Indiana District 6 Tournament at Hagerstown’s Mike Beeson Field. The New Castle players also received pins to mark the occasion and will play in the state tournament in Fort Wayne starting on July 19.
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Jonah Cox of the New Castle Little League Baseball 10U All-Star Team glances toward the outfield as he runs past second base and heads for third after belting a run-scoring triple against Hagerstown during the top of the fourth inning of Thursday evening’s Indiana District 6 Tournament championship game at Hagerstown’s Mike Beeson Field. Cox later added a run-scoring double in New Castle’s 8-0 victory for the tourney title.

By DAVID RISLEY - drisley@thecouriertimes.com

HAGERSTOWN - The New Castle Little League Baseball 10U All-Star team put everything together to claim the Indiana District 6 Tournament championship Thursday evening at Mike Beeson Field.

New Castle got excellent pitching and defense, plus timely hitting, and ran the bases well to record an 8-0 shutout victory over tournament host Hagerstown to claim the title.

Finishing with a record of 4-0 in this tournament, New Castle has a couple weeks off before playing in the state tournament starting July 19 at Fort Wayne’s Georgetown Little League facilities.

“I wasn’t real happy with our pre-game performance,” New Castle Manager Jack Howe said afterward, “but our boys were ready to play once the game started. We didn’t really didn’t start hitting like we can until the fourth inning, but we got our bats going, ran the bases well, and played really good defense. And our pitcher was stellar.”

Everyone contributed for New Castle in Thursday’s contest, but if one had to single out a player as the star of the game, it probably would be pitcher Darin Reynolds.

Reynolds pitched remarkably well for a player his age, giving up two hits and no walks while striking out seven Hagerstown batters in going the distance for the complete-game victory. Reynolds needed only 67 pitches for his masterpiece.

“All you need to do is work hard and do your best, and that’s what I tried to do,” Reynolds said. “My arm was getting a little tired toward the end, but I worked through it. My fastball was working great and I stayed with it most of the game. My defense also played really well behind me.”

Manager Howe was quite pleased with the performance from Reynolds.

“You couldn’t ask for a better-pitched game,” Manager Howe explained. “Darin pitched an excellent game, had command of his pitches, and was able to do almost anything he wanted on the mound. He didn’t fall behind many hitters, and having no walks pitching at this level is absolutely huge.”

Despite emerging from the winners bracket into the championship round, New Castle was the guest on the scoreboard and tallied one run in the top of the first inning off Hagerstown starting pitcher Hayden Pruitt.

Cade Logston led off with a single to centerfield but was forced out at second base on Carson Bell’s fielder’s choice grounder. Bell took second on a single to left field by Dominic Pass, and Bell stole third base.

Bell scored on a wild pitch and Pass moved up to second. Trenton Boughton walked on four pitches, and Pass and Boughton moved into scoring position on Reynolds’ groundout. The next batter struck out swinging after six pitches, and New Castle had to settle for the 1-0 lead.

In the bottom of the first, Pruitt led off for Hagerstown by beating out a ball hit to deep short for an infield hit. But Pruitt was erased at second base on a nifty 4-6-3 double play on grounder off the bat of Ben Tinkle. Reynolds struck out the next batter on five pitches to retire the side.

Pruitt looked like Nolan Ryan in his prime in the top of the second inning, as he struck out all three New Castle batters he faced on a total of nine pitches. Hagerstown went down 1-2-3 against Reynolds in the bottom of the frame.

New Castle manufactured a run in the top of the third inning to go up 2-0. With one away, Bell singled to right field, moved to second base on a groundout by Pass, and scored on a two-out single to centerfield by Boughton.

Reynolds retired Hagerstown in order in the last of the third, the latter two hitters via strikeout, to complete the first half of the game in only 31 minutes.

New Castle erupted for five runs in the top of the fourth inning, chasing Pruitt from the mound. Jhonny Howe led off by hitting the ball into deep centerfield for a single, and Talyn Miller came in to pinch run for him.

Two players who didn’t start for New Castle then came up big. Thomas Cobb came off the pines and belted a double down the left field line, putting both runners in scoring position, and Austin Nunez came off the bench and lined a single to centerfield to plate Miller and Cobb for a 4-0 advantage.

“We have starters and we have substitutes, but above all, we have a team,” Manager Howe explained. “Everyone on this team has a role, and whenever you’re called upon, you step up. That’s what this team does. They’ve worked hard, get along well, and they’ve been a joy to coach.”

Ryan Cupp came in to run for Nunez. Jonah Cox, batting in the ninth spot in the lineup, blasted a triple to the left field fence and Cupp crossed the plate. Logston’s fly ball to short right field was dropped for an error and Cox scored to make it 6-0.

Brayden Sanders came in to pitch for Hagerstown after Pruitt had thrown 45 pitches. Logston moved to send base on Bell’s groundout, and the hustling Logston dashed all the way from second base to score on a groundout by Pass to boost the New Castle lead to 7-0.

Once again, Reynolds retired Hagerstown 1-2-3 in the last of the fourth, ending the inning with a strikeout.

New Castle added its final run in the top of the fifth inning. With one away, Miller reached base on an error, stole second, and took third base on a wild pitch. Pass walked on four pitches and Cobb came in to run for him.

The next batter popped up for the second out, but Cox stepped in and doubled to centerfield, and Miller came in to score for an 8-0 New Castle advantage. On the play, and attempting to score, Cobb got caught in a rundown between third and home and was tagged out to end the inning.

With two away in the bottom of the fifth, Hagerstown’s Jaxon Crawford reached base when his ground ball was bobbled by the fielder and he beat the throw to first. But Reynolds fanned the next batter on a called third strike to end the inning. 

With one out in the top of the sixth inning, Bell singled to right centerfield on a 3-2 pitch, but was tagged out trying to steal second base. Pass walked on four pitches and Boughton got a base on balls on five pitches, and Evan Zentz came in to run for Boughton.

But the next batter grounded to the third baseman, who stepped on the bag for the third out to retire the side, and New Castle didn’t score.

Reynolds struck out the first two batters he faced in the bottom of the sixth inning. But Pruitt, who got the only other hit for Hagerstown, singled to centerfield and took second base on the throw-in.

Pruitt moved to third base on a passed ball, but Reynolds induced the next batter to pop out to Bell, preserving the shutout and ending the game after an elapsed time of only 1:18.

“We have about two weeks before the state tournament begins,” Manager Howe added. “We’ll take a couple days off, and then have practices and play in a tournament in Richmond. Then we’ll lace them up and see what we can do in Fort Wayne.”