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N. Miami wins 10u District II title over Lewis Cass

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SNAG: Though he didn’t get the chance to knock in the winning run later in the game, North Miami first baseman Xavier Turner did pick up an important out with a catch in foul territory, part of a defensive effort that allowed only two Lewis Cass runners to reach after the second inning.
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DISTRICT CHAMPS: North Miami’s 10u baseball team started and ended District II play with wins over Lewis Cass, coming back to defeat the Kings in the final 5-4 after trailing 4-0. Members of the team include Jordan Simon, Peyton Rylands, Gavyn Fritz, Ryan Meredith, Isaac Floyd, Braylon McIntire, Riley Collins, Hartley Hoover, Quinn Hostetler, Kale Deardorff, Xavier Turner and Logan Smith.
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GOING SOMEWHERE?: Peru 12u catcher Cooper Baldwin (R) tags out a UCT player stretching out a play for a run late in the Tigers’ 12-8 loss Monday night.
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DANCING HOME: After inducing an errant throw to third, North Miami’s Gavyn Fritz (L) scampers to home plate to finish off the Warriors’ 5-4 rally, winning the Town and Country League Junior District II title in the process.

BY TRENT SCOTT - tscott@perutribune.com

Given its early summer performances, Monday night’s Town and Country Junior District II final was the kind of game North Miami was used to.

A slow start allowed Lewis Cass to take a 4-0 lead through two innings but the visitors never added to the advantage and the Warriors slowly crept back into the game, tying the game in the fifth inning and walking off in the sixth to win the district title 5-4.

North Miami’s run through the district started and ended with the Kings, first beating the visitors 11-1 last Thursday before two more run-rule wins over Pioneer and Caston in the following days.

Warrior 10u head coach Eric McIntire said one of the biggest changes from previous years was an added emphasis at the plate, a trait that showed in the first three games.

“We stressed at the end of last year to the kids we needed to work on hitting,” McIntire said. “We felt we had the team speed and okay with pitching and defense.

“We told them they needed to spend time hitting the ball while we added some new players to the team specifically for their bats. That has helped solidify the lineup top-to-bottom and brought everything together.”

After the opening day loss, Lewis Cass rallied to win four-straight, defeating Monticello, Marion, Pioneer and Caston to make it to the final.

A leadoff walk to open the game came back to hurt North Miami as the runner scored to give Lewis Cass a 1-0 lead.

The Kings tacked on three more runs in the second with an error playing a big part in the rally, giving the visitors a 4-0 lead.

The Warriors answered with three in the third inning following an error that allowed Riley Collins to score, followed by Braylon McIntire and Hartley Hoover on passed balls later in the inning.

North Miami put the clamps on the Lewis Cass offense as Logan Smith and McIntire only allowed two baserunners over the final four innings of play.

This allowed the Warriors to keep chipping away at the lead, tying the game in the fifth as McIntire scored on a fielder’s choice.

A double to lead off the sixth inning from Isaac Floyd and a Quinn Hostetler single put the hosts in prime position to win the game with Xavier Turner at the plate.

Turner’s bat wouldn’t be necessary, however, as Gavyn Fritz, pinch running for Floyd, danced around the bag at third, inducing a throw over that sailed to the fence and allowed Fritz to come home for the district-title winning run.

Even on the biggest stage of the summer so far, McIntire said the kids didn’t get discouraged and closed the game out as they had done so many times already this year.

“Early in the year, we were a third, fourth inning team,” McIntire said. “We came back and won most of our games and we told the boys that’s going to pay off later, not getting down and being able to comeback.

“Top-to-bottom, no matter their position, the whole team has a good attitude and doesn’t believe they’re down until the fat lady sings.”

North Miami will go to this week’s Junior Semi-State I as a No. 1 seed and will play Friday at 7:45 against either Marion or Northwood.

McIntire said the kids felt good after the win and were eager to keep moving on in the tournament.

“We feel confident,” McIntire noted. “We try not to worry about other teams but worry about ourselves.

“If we do the things we’re capable of doing, it’s going to take a heck of a team to knock us off.”

North Miami had a second district champion Monday night as the 8u team won the Pierceton District II title over Tippecanoe Valley.

The Warrior 8u team will play Friday at 7:45 p.m. at Plymouth Minor Semi-State I while Peru will play Wednesday night against Monticello at 6 p.m.

North Miami’s 12u team will play Thursday night at Rochester Senior Semi-State I starting at 7:45 p.m.

UCT 12, Peru 8

Early errors hampered Peru’s opening game at the Bunker Hill 12u Cal Ripken tournament, allowing the Kokomo-based team an early 5-0 lead.

The Tigers pulled back three runs in the third inning but gave all three back in the fourth.

A long bottom of the fourth inning in which UCT ran through four pitchers followed as Peru scored four runs, cutting the lead to 8-7.

UCT struck back in the fifth with two runs and added three more in the top of the sixth while the Tigers could only add one in reply, falling to 0-1 in pool play.

Despite the loss, Peru 12u head coach Jake Williams said the team showed some fight after digging themselves an early hole.

“The boys did a good job tonight,” Williams said. “They made a few costly errors at the beginning of the game that hurt us but other than that, they scrapped and battled.

“Our bats were a little better than they have been in the past couple of games and the pitching was okay.”

After facing Russiaville Tuesday, Peru plays Northwestern Wednesday at 8 p.m. and Northside Thursday at 8 p.m.

Hosts Bunker Hill also played Tuesday against Southside, playing opposite Peru against Taylor Wednesday night to conclude pool play.

Meanwhile, at the Peru 11u Cal Ripken tournament, South Bend Eastside No. 1 defeated Auburn 8-0, Northwestern defeated Russiaville 22-1 and UCT defeated South Bend Eastside No. 2 12-10.

Logansport received a forfeit over Kokomo Eastside.