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NC Green shuts out White River to advance to semifinals

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Manager Chris Howe of the New Castle Little League Baseball 8U Green Team tosses a pitch to one of his players as the White River first baseman looks on during Sunday afternoon’s District 6 Tournament game in New Castle. Scoring early and often, New Castle posted a 13-0 victory over White River in 3 1/2 innings.
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At the bottom of the batting order, Ike Johnson of the New Castle Little League Baseball 8U Green Team raps an infield hit to drive in a run against White River during Sunday afternoon’s District 6 Tournament game in New Castle. Scoring often, New Castle won 13-0 in 3 1/2 innings.

By DAVID RISLEY - drisley@thecouriertimes.com

The New Castle Little League Baseball 8U Green team improved to 3-0 in District 6 Tournament play with a 13-0 whitewash of White River (Anderson) in 3 1/2 innings Sunday afternoon at New Castle’s upper (east) diamond.

By doing do, New Castle advanced to Monday evening’s semifinals in Cambridge City, where it played Yorktown in the first game. Union County faced Cambridge City in Monday’s nightcap.

Indiana does not have a Little League state tournament for players eight years-old and under, but District 6 does have a tournament that culminates in a championship.

Under the rules, a coach pitches to players on his own team, no more than five runs can be scored by one team in an inning (unless games reach the sixth inning), no scoring on wild pitches or passed balls, a maximum of five pitches per batter is allowed, and certain mercy rules apply.

New Castle was the home team on the scoreboard for Sunday’s contest and retired White River in the top of the first inning on a pop-up and two groundouts.

Manager Chris Howe pitched to his team when New Castle came to bat in the bottom of the first inning. Kypton Boatright led off with a single to centerfield. That was followed by a single to center by Jaxson Grubbs, a triple to centerfield by Alex Middleton, and consecutive singles to center by Carter Howe, Kanaan Cramner, and Caiden Ragan.

Boatright, Grubbs, Middleton, Howe, and Cramner all crossed home plate to give New Castle the maximum runs allowed and a 5-0 lead after one.

“We played much better defense today than we did the first two games of the tournament,” New Castle Green Manager Chris Howe said afterward. “Playing good defense is the key to winning for us, as we know we can hit.”

White River got its first baserunners of the game in the top of the second inning. Dylon Grimes led off with a single to centerfield and Isaiah Robinson reached base on an error with Grimes moving to third base. Robinson reached second on a groundout by Skyler Wright.

But the next batter was out after failing to put the ball in play with five pitches and a 1-3 groundout retired the side with no runs scoring.

New Castle’s offense in the bottom of the second inning began where it left off in the last of the first, although White River did tighten up its defense a bit.

Ryan Logsdon singled to centerfield leading off, and Luke Brewster and Jaiden Johnson reached base on back-to-back errors by the White River shortstop. John Brewster followed with a single to center, but White River turned a nifty double play on a batted ball by Hunter Kraus, with both John Brewster and Kraus retired on the play.

But with two away, New Castle resumed the attack. Ike Johnson, the last player in the batting order, got an infield hit to drive in a run and Boatright and Grubbs followed with hits. Logsdon, Luke Brewster, Jaiden Johnson, Ike Johnson, and Boatright scored in the inning for the maximum number of runs allowed, and New Castle held a 10-0 advantage after two.

White River’s leadoff batter Lucas Miller reached first base on an error to open the top of the third inning. But the New Castle defense got three straight ground ball outs and White River didn’t score.

Middleton opened the bottom of the third for New Castle with a bloop single, and Howe and Cramner singled. Back-to back force-outs on ground balls hit by Ragan and Logsdon was followed by a bloop hit by Luke Brewster.

Middleton, Howe, and Logsdon all scored in the frame before the next batter struck out to end the inning with New Castle ahead 13-0.

White River’s Kendall Stevens reached base on an error leading off the top of the fourth, but was out when he strayed too far off the bag when Jayden Whitehead lined out to the New Castle first baseman for an unassisted double play. The next batter grounded out 6-3 to end the inning.

That also was the last play of the game, as White River needed to score at least four runs in the inning to keep the game going. So New Castle won 13-0 in 3 1/2 innings in a contest that took just 38 minutes to complete.

Given the brevity of the game, the two teams decided to play on a bit more just for fun, and no score was kept.

“This game was kind of a tune-up for the single-elimination part of the tourney which begins tomorrow,” Manager Howe added.

“The kids had fun and ran the bases, and we should be ready for tomorrow’s game.”