After a scoreless first inning for both teams, Philipsburg-Osceola’s Caleb Pellerite took it upon himself to start the offense in Sunday’s Little League Baseball 11-12 year-old championship game against Big Valley.
With a crack of the bat and the screams of fans in the bleachers, Pellerite’s ball soared over the center field fence for an early Philipsburg lead.
“He’s been doing that all year,” Philipsburg coach Gregg Whitehead said. “He was second in our league in home runs.”
However, Pellerite wasn’t the only one with a hot bat.
Big Valley’s first batter in the bottom of the inning, Cole Knable, got a home run of his own, another two runs were scored soon after, and Big Valley went on to roll past P-O 12-2 in five innings to capture the District 5 title and advance to the Section 4 tournament.
“We worked really hard,” Whitehead said. “Today just wasn’t our day.”
In the third inning, Philipsburg had two runners on base, but couldn’t get anyone home.
Meanwhile, Big Valley showed no sign of slowing down.
Momentum was ignited once more as Austin Wagner hit a three-run home run. A double by Colby Bodtorf brought home two more runs, and it was 11-1 by the end of the third.
Philipsburg found some hope in a Jeremy Whitehead double to start the fourth inning, and Pellerite reached first on an error. A sacrifice fly from David Meersand brought in Whitehead, but that was all Philipsburg could do to dent Big Valley’s commanding lead.
A home run from Ethan Eichhorn ended the game with the 10-run mercy rule in the fifth as Big Valley finished the game with 17 hits.
“Hat’s off the Big Valley. They just come out, and they pound the ball,” Gregg Whitehead said. “They had a lot of extra base hits. I’m just proud that we kept our heads up and we kept playing. We scraped up a few runs, and again, it just wasn’t our day.”
Big Valley (7-0) will head to sectionals, while Philipsburg (5-2) ends its season, with both losses coming at the hands of Big Valley.
“They’re all good kids and I’m extremely proud of all of them,” Gregg Whitehead said. “It’s just too bad it has to end.”