The 11- and 12-year-old Little League All-Stars rolled to their third lopsided win in as many games Wednesday at the regional tournament, downing Nebraska 8-0 on their way to the semifinals.
Elyria East won Pool B with a 3-0 record, having also defeated Kentucky 11-4 and Iowa 6-1.
Next up is an 11 a.m. game today against Illinois. If East wins, it will play the winner of the Michigan-Iowa game. The championship game is set for 3 p.m. and can be heard live on the internet on HCNradio.com.
“The kids have been playing well,” Elyria East manager Len Howser said. “They’ve been working for a chance to play (today). They’ve earned it. I’m very proud of all of them.”
As usual with this East team, there were a number of stars. In fact, four pitchers combined on the one-hit shutout.
April Howser, the coach’s daughter, threw two hitless innings with three strikeouts and no walks, while Faith Hamilton allowed a hit and a walk in her two innings. Haley Schultz went 1⅓ innings, allowing no hits or walks and fanning one, and Gabby Zerbini nailed down the win with one walk and no hits over the final two-thirds.
East’s offense got going in the second when Hamilton and Becca Kubisen started things off with back-to-back singles. After Schultz reached on a fielder’s choice, Emily Hyer hit a one-out single to bring in Kubisen, and Cassie Miller’s sacrifice fly to right scored Schultz for a 2-0 lead.
That was just the beginning, however, as East struck for five runs in the fourth.
Kubisen and Mia Parks singled and Maegan Phares reached on a bunt to load the bases. Howser then stepped up and doubled to left to score two to make it 4-0.
After Alexis Reinhardt walked, Schultz drove in Phares, who beat a throw to the plate for a 5-0 lead.
A grounder brought Howser in and Hamilton drove in Reinhardt with a deep sacrifice fly, pushing the lead to 7-0.
East completed the scoring in the fifth when Miller and Howser led off with singles, Zerbini walked and Miller scored on a wild pitch.