BAXTER SPRINGS – First time was the charm for the Pittsburg 12U All-Stars.
This postseason was the first year the Pittsburg All-Stars participated in the Little League State Championships, and Pittsburg made their presence known with a combination of dominate pitching and an explosive offense throughout, culminating in a 5-0 championship game win over Baxter Springs on Thursday.
“Coming into the tournament I had faith that our guys could play at this level,” said manager Brian Pasteur. “We played teams with really good pitching, so crucial hits have been a big part of our success so far.”
Thursday marked their second game against Baxter Springs this week, after Pittsburg defeated the team 11-6 on Tuesday.
“When you put up as many runs as we have you’re going to be in the driver seat in every game,” said coach Doug VanBecelaere. “Parker Johnston was solid at the plate throughout the tournament, and the rest of the lineup was very consistent as well.”
When Pittsburg found themselves down for the first time in the tournament in Tuesday’s game against Baxter Springs, it was Johnston’s grand-slam home run that sparked the Pittsburg comeback.
“My mindset when I approach the plate is to first make contact with the ball.” said Johnston when asked how he approaches each at-bat.
Johnston is using the bond he shares with his teammates to help move past the early jitters of moving on to regionals.
“I’m a little nervous,” added Johnston. “However me and my teammates are basically a family, and I’m sure as a unit we will do great.”
The pitching staff, led by starter Webb Fern, allowed only five hits on their way to the complete game shutout.
Jackson Turnbull led the attack, going 2-for-3 with two RBIs.
Tucker Akins chipped in two RBIs as well, by way of a two-run RBI single to left field in the middle of the second frame.
Pittsburg head into the regional tournament after defeating opponents 51-6 combined in their last four games.
“ Sometimes I look over in the dugout and think that we’re a little too relaxed, but the guys always give it an 100 percent on the field during games and in practice.” added Pasteur.
Now Pittsburg turn their attention to the Regional Tournament that will be held in Indianapolis starting August 4.