ABERDEEN, Md. -- The Kennewick American All-Star 12-year-olds lost twice Monday at the Cal Ripken Major/70 World Series at Ripken Academy fields.
The All-Stars opened American Division pool play with a 5-3 loss to the Charles County Chargers of Maryland and followed with a 10-4 loss to Texas Tri-Counties.
But at least the Pacific Northwest regional champions finally were given the greenlight to do what they came to do: play in the best-of-the-best tournament. Heavy rainshowers Sunday tabled Kennewick's originally scheduled debut against the Maryland state champions.
In the early-morning opener, Bryce Grigg hit a triple and scored on a Blake Loftus single in the top of the third to give Kennewick a 1-0 lead, but Maryland rallied for five in the bottom of the fifth and was able to claim victory despite glimmerings of a comeback in the bottom of the sixth when Brycen Kelly slammed a two-run homer. Kennewick outhit Maryland 7-5.
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On the defensive end, starter Dillon Plew gave 'em what-for with seven strikouts over 4 2/3 innings. Unfortunately, the Chargers were able to squeeze out two earned runs against Plew, who took the loss.
"We probably pitched for four and two thirds innings about as good as any team can pitch," All-Stars coach Jeff Plew said. "Dillon had an outstanding performance, but he was getting tired at the end."
With the postponed game out of the way and opening jitters ostensibly shaken, the afternoon contest against the Southwest regional champions didn't signal a reversal of fortune.
The All-Stars' Caleb Cope hit a two-run triple -- a hard ground ball to right field -- in the bottom of the first which scored Loftus and Kelly and tied the game at 2-2. But Texas scored twice on walks in the top of the second and added distance with five runs in the top of the fifth to earn the win.
"I think in the second game we had hangover from the first game," Jeff Plew said. "We came out slow with the bats and, when we did hit it, it was right at someone."
Tracer Bjorge hit a double, which delivered home Cavet Christ in the bottom of the fifth, and then scored on a sac fly by Loftus to account for Kennewick's remaining runs.
The All-Stars continue pool play 11:30 a.m. today against Oahu, Hawaii, which is 2-0 in the American Division bracket. The Pacific Southwest champions 10-runned New England 12-2 in four innings Saturday and edged Maryland 9-8 on Monday.
"They're much like us when we play good baseball," Plew said of Hawaii. "They've got team speed and a couple of guys they can count on for pitching. They hit it and run -- they're a fast team. That'll be a good challenge for us. We're trying to win the next two games to have a good experience here. It's been fun, the kids want to compete hard for both their community and themselves, as a team they want to prove they belong."
Kennewick 001 002 -- 3 7 2
Maryland 000 05x -- 5 5 1
Dillon Plew, Brycen Kelly (5) and Hunter Spiva, Plew (5); David Larson, Christopher Levre (5). Highlights--D. Plew (K) 3x3, 2B, 4 2/3IP-3H-2R-2ER-1BB-7K; B. Kelly HR, 2 RBI, 1/3IP-2H-3R-1ER-1BB-1K; Bryce Grigg (K) 3B; Blake Loftus (K) RBI, SB; Spiva (K) 1x3; D. Larson (M) 2x3, 2 RBI, 4IP-4H-1R-1ER-0BB-3K; Brian Hennessy (M) 2B
Texas 220 051 --10 8 0
Kennewick 200 020 -- 4 4 2
Pitching staff: Andrew Dvorak; Caleb Cope, B. Kelly (2), B. Loftus (5), D. Plew (5), Andrew Jacobsen (6) and Plew, Spiva (5). Highlights--Dvorak (T) 2 RBI, 2B, 6IP-4H-4R-4ER-3BB-6K; Tanner Semera (T) 2 RBI; Marcus Olivarez (T) 2 RBI; Tracer Bjorge (K) 2B, RBI, Cavet Christ (K) 2B; C. Cope (K) 3B, 2 RBI; B. Loftus (K) 1x2, RBI
Note: You can follow the Kennewick American All-Stars' progress at the GameChanger website: http://www.crwsstats.com. The team with the most fans at the end of the tournamet will win an iPad.