After suffering its first loss of the season Sunday, the State College u12 Little League All-Stars rebounded in a big way Monday night against Hollidaysburg.
A day after recording just three hits against East Pennsboro, State College cracked 14 to beat Hollidaysburg 11-4 and move on to the Section 4 championship — a rematch with East Pennsboro — on Tuesday.
Mikey Gaul led the offense, smacking in two home runs and a single for a total of six RBIs. Sebastian Rhoades also recorded three hits, as well as an RBI. Asher Cunningham, Finn Powers, Gavin Kendrick, Scottie Pantall, Vincent LaFrazza-Schwartz and Michael Powell also got hits for State College.
“We are a hitting baseball team, so the last game, especially, was not normal for us,” head coach Matt Gaul said. “So it was good to see us get back to what we normally do.”
Cunningham started the hitting off for State College in the top of the first with a triple. Rhoades hit him home with a ground ball to second.
State College held the 1-0 lead until Hollidaysburg scored three in the bottom of the second. State College, however, didn’t let Hollidaysburg keep the lead for long, scoring four in the top of the third.
Mikey Gaul’s first home run came in the top of the fourth off a line drive to center field, driving in Rhoades and Kendrick. The next one came on a fly ball to right field in the top of the sixth, scoring Rhoades.
State College fielders made three quick outs in the bottom of the inning to put the game away.
“They just came in confident today,” Matt Gaul said. “I think they decided after yesterday they were ready to play. Yesterday I think honestly they were a little intimidated just because of who the team was, but after they let that sink in overnight, they realized that realistically with that less-than-great performance out of us, we were right there.“
He added: “They just came back and they were ready to go. I mean these kids can hit a baseball and I’m glad they showed it tonight.”
State College will get another crack at last year’s u11 state champs East Pennsboro in the sectional championship game at 6 p.m. Tuesday in Mechanicsburg. Having lost Sunday, State College will have to beat East Pennsboro twice to move on to the state tournament.
That’s a feat coach Matt Gaul believes his team can accomplish.
“They just need to come in with the same confidence they came in with in the game tonight,” he said. “If they have that confidence, there’s not a team that can beat them.”