For The Independent
Saturday night’s Little League District 6 10-11-year-old championship game will be remembered much the same way as the rest of the holiday weekend — rainy with some fireworks sprinkled in.
Unfortunately for the Little Leaguers from Morehead, it was Russell-Flatwoods that provided all of the fireworks as it captured the title, 14-0, in four innings at the Ashland National Big Sandy Complex.
Russell-Flatwoods will now head to Prestonsburg for the state tournament, which begins on July 20.
The contest was originally slated for Friday night, but rain forced it to Saturday evening. Even then the weather did not fully cooperate as showers caused the start of the game to be pushed back nearly an hour.
But just like most of the weekend, once the rain subsided it wasn’t long before the fireworks started going off.
Jacob Thompson got things started for Russell in the bottom of the second with a two-run double to left field. Two batters later Ken Gomez’s single to center field plated two more. Grant Wilburn followed that with an RBI single off of the right-field fence, and Russell was still just getting started as it ultimately sent 17 batters to the plate in the inning.
Gomez supplied the grand finale to the spectacular inning, blasting a grand slam over the right-center-field fence to make the score 14-0.
The second-inning success was no surprise to Russell-Flatwoods manager Mick Brown, who said it usually takes his team an inning or two to get used to a new pitcher.
“We just need to see the pitcher. It always takes them an inning,” he said. “But once we do we have some great hitters on this team. Once they saw him once and got the timing down it was on.”
The Morehead hitters never quite got Wilburn figured out, mostly because they couldn’t catch up to the big right-hander’s fastball.
Wilburn, who mixed in a curveball at times, struck out eight of the 12 batters he faced. He allowed just one hit, a single by Andrew Hankinson to lead off the fourth.
“Grant pitched an excellent game. He was hitting the strike zone all night,” Brown said. “He is pretty much the ace of this staff.”
This will be the second time that this group from Russell-Flatwoods will be making an appearance at the state level. They represented District 6 in the 9-10 division a year ago, and hope to use that experience to their advantage.
“They are wonderful kids. They have worked hard and are playing so well together,” Brown said. “We are on a roll right now. We are feeling good and we are excited. It couldn’t happen to a better bunch of kids.”
MOREHEAD 000 0 — 0 1 1
R-FLATWOODS 0(14)0 x — 14 7 0
Adkins, Gardner (2) and Davidson. Wilburn and Thompson. W—Wilburn. L—Adkins. 2B: Thompson (RF). HR: Gomez (RF).