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Big fourth inning sends Belmont 12s past Lakes Region

by Jeff Lajoie
Sports Reporter

Belmont's Jackson Ruelke stands in during action for the 12U All-Star team during the opening game of the Cal Ripken District 6 Tournament Friday night in Franklin. Belmont opened the tourney with a 14-3 victory over Lakes Region. Jeff Lajoie. (click for larger version)
June 23, 2014
FRANKLIN A fourth inning Lakes Region rally closed the gap, but eight runs from Belmont in the bottom of the frame enabled the team to walk-off with a 14-3 victory in the opening contest for both teams in the 12U Cal Ripken District 6 tournament at Odell Park on June 20.

The victory was the first in a 3-1 pool play run for Belmont, as the squad advanced to the best-of-three championship series against Gilford with the winner moving on to the state tournament scheduled for July 5-10. The title series began after deadline on Monday night.

The Belmont 12U All-Stars, defending district champions and fresh off a tournament victory in Gilford two weeks earlier, jumped ahead in the bottom of the second. With one out, Aaron Simonds singled, stole second and moved to third on a wild pitch. The third baseman would put Belmont on top 1-0 when he scampered home on another wild pitch.

Lakes Region starting pitcher Logan Gundersen would get out of the inning however, as he stranded runners on second and third with a strikeout to close the frame.

With Lakes Region unable to push across any runs against Belmont starter Austin Garrett in the first three innings, the Big Red added to their lead with five runs in the bottom of the third. Griffin Embree doubled to lead off the inning, and he was followed by a Jackson Ruelke single. Nate Sottak made it 2-0 when he drove Embree in with an RBI ground out, while Garrett singled home Ruelke for a 3-0 advantage.

After an error allowed another Belmont run to score, Nick Sperduto came through with a two-run double to push the home team ahead, 6-0.

Lakes Region had an answer offensively in the top of the fourth however, as the Meredith-based club finally got on the board. Noah Robinson doubled home John Perry with one out to make it 6-1, and Devin Schwartz followed with a single. With two outs, catcher Patrick Mohan delivered a key two-run single through the right side, bringing Lakes Region back within 6-3.

Belmont's offense exploded in the bottom of the fourth however, and the team was able to score eight times to end the game in run-shortened fashion. Zack Gilbert had a big two-run single, while Lucas Mathieu and Embree also added RBI singles. Sottak brought the game to an end as his two-run single made it a 14-3 final.

Garrett earned the win on the mound for Belmont, as he tossed three scoreless innings, striking out three while allowing just two hits and no walks. Gundersen and Perry combined to pitch the outing for Lakes Region, and the pair struck out two on the evening.

Schwartz paced the LR offense out of the five-hole, as the center fielder was 2-for-2 with a double and a run scored. Brandyn Mock and Gundersen also had hits for Lakes Region in the loss.

Embree, Sottak and Gilbert all had two hits in the win for Belmont, while Simonds, who struck out two on the mound in his one inning of action, scored three runs in three plate appearances. Cam Magerer and Connor Young also added hits for a Belmont team that totaled 13 in the game.

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