Unity 9/10 All-Stars end tourney run

The Unity Little League 9/10-year old All-Star baseball team saw its tournament trail come to an end last week at the district tourney in Tuscola. Monday evening, July 9, Unity dropped a winner’s bracket contest to Champaign East, considered by many to be the best team in the tournament, by a score of 4-2. That loss dropped Unity into the loser’s bracket, where they met Champaign West for the second time in the tournament.

After defeating Champaign West, 7-2 in a first-round game on July 7, West got revenge the second time around, ousting the All-Stars, 16-4, on Thursday, July 12. Unity ended their tournament season with a 1-2 record.

Champaign East 4, Unity 2

​After their opening victory over Champaign West, Unity moved into the winner’s bracket to face Champaign East, which had blanked tourney host Tuscola by a 15-0 score. Unity jumped ahead early, but was unable to hold off a late rally by East.

The Unity All-Stars scored a run in the top of the first inning, when Graydin Cler led off with a triple and scored three batters later, when Collin Gravin reached on an error. Champaign East tied the score at 1-1 in the bottom of the second on a pair of singles, a fielder’s choice and a wild pitch. 

Both sides threatened to score during the middle frames before Champaign East broke through in the bottom of the fifth. The first three batters walked to lead off the inning, and after a strikeout, two straight singles and a hit batsmen pushed three runs across the plate to give East a 4-1 lead. Unity threatened in the top of the sixth, when Gravin singled with one out.

A pair of two-out walks, a wild pitch and a stolen base scored Gravin with Unity’s second run of the game, but a strikeout ended the threat, and the game.

Cler led Unity offensively with a double and a triple, as well as a run scored. Gravin managed the only other hits for the All-Stars. Gravin and Josh Heath shared the pitching duties and limited Champaign East to just four hits while combining for nine strikeouts, but seven walks gave the Champaign squad a few more baserunners. Champaign’s hurlers gave only three hits, with 11 punchouts and five walks.


Champaign West 16, Unity 4

In the second meeting between Unity and Champaign West, Unity fell behind early, just as they had done in the first contest, but could not mount a big enough comeback the second time around.

As they had done in the first game between the two teams, Champaign West jumped on Unity starter Austin Winters, this time to the tune of four runs. West pounded out three hits in the opening frame, and were aided by two walks and an error. Champaign added a run in the second to go ahead, 5-0, before Unity could get on the board. Josh Heath led off the second with a double to left center field, and walks to Keegan Germano and Maddix Sutherland loaded the bases with nobody out. After a strikeout for the first out of the inning, Bradley Smith and Winters each walked with the sacks full to make it a 5-2 game, in favor of Champaign West.

In the third, West picked up a run off of Unity relief hurler Kyle Poindexter to go ahead, 6-2. Unity answered with a pair of runs in the home half of the third.

With one out, Heath reached on an error, and was followed by a walk to Germano. A spate of wild pitches brought both Heath and Germano around the bases for two more runs, which pulled Unity to within two runs, at 6-4. Unity threatened in the fifth and sixth innings, but Champaign West made the defensive plays when they needed them to cut the potential rallies short. 

Meanwhile, West added a run in the fourth, then scored nine times in the top of the sixth to cement the victory and send Unity to the sidelines.

At the plate, Unity managed just three hits, including doubles off the bats of Heath and Cler. A leadoff single in the first by Winters was the only other hit for the All-Stars. Heath and Germano accounted for all of Unity’s runs scored, with each crossing the plate twice. Four Unity pitchers gave up a total of eight hits, with eight strikeouts and nine walks.

Steve Winters, one of the Unity coaches, said he was pleased with the way his team played during the during the tournament, especially against a Champaign East team that was so dominant in its first-round victory.

“These kids gave it everything they had,” Winters said. “They did everything we asked of them, and it was a good conclusion to three months of hard work. Things didn’t work out for us, but that’s going to happen sometimes.”

Members of the Unity 9/10-year-old All-Stars are Dane Eisenmenger, Austin Winters, Graydin Cler, Tyler Huntington, Caden Stierwalt, Tristin Alexander, Alex Bromley, Bradley Smith, Carter Tiemann, Maddix Sutherland, Collin Gravin, Josh Heath, Tyler Styan and Keegan Germano. Coaches were Chad Eisenmenger, Steve Winters and Jeremy Tiemann.

Categories (3):Prep Sports, Baseball, Sports


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