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Bunker Hill opens state tournament with a bang

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PLINK: Bunker Hill’s AJ Kelly (R) gets the third inning rally going with a single Tuesday night against Crown Point Blue. The Braves scored nine runs in the third inning to end the game early via mercy rule in an 18-2 win.
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THERE’S A CHANCE: Though Bunker Hill’s Klayton Kile was furthest from the bag, the Braves runner was able to reach first base safely after a ground ball was dropped during Tuesday’s Northern Indiana Cal Ripken 12u State Finals opener against Crown Point White. The hosts thundered to an 18-2 win in three innings to get their tournament started on the right foot.

BY TRENT SCOTT - tscott@perutribune.com

Bunker Hill’s 12u baseball started off the Northern Indiana Cal Ripken 12u State Finals with a bang Tuesday night.

The Braves scored eight runs in the opening inning against Crown Point White, helping the hosts secure an 18-2 win in three innings of play.

Starting pitcher Zach Wright nailed down a quick 1-2-3 inning before Kaleb Shelton needed three pitches to put Bunker Hill on the board with a solo home run.

Jordan Ellis singled to plate Bennett Isenburg and Brady Dausch for a 3-0 lead while AJ Kelly singled home Ellis and Klayton Kile doubled in Kelly for a 5-0 advantage.

Shelton tagged a triple after the order rolled around, scoring Kile and DJ Elliott before scoring on a passed ball before a line out finally ended the inning.

The Bulldogs responded with a pair of hits and a hit batsman to load the bases before Wright conceded a run via walk.

A groundout got a second run in for Crown Point before a fly out and a runner caught trying for home ended the visitors’ second inning.

Kile singled to plate Wright and Shelton hit a sac fly to score Kelly in the second before Shelton put together a 1-2-3 third inning on the mound in relief, setting up Bunker Hill for the early finish.

Dausch started the bottom of the third with a double before a strikeout and a pop out left the Braves with no runners and two outs, Dausch having scored already on a passed ball.

Kelly got the rally going with a single, followed by Kile winning a footrace to first base to keep the inning going.

A pair of steals saw Kelly score before Devon Murry reached on a fielder’s choice before Elliott singled to plate Kile.

Shelton added a double, allowing Elliott and Murry to score, followed by consecutive doubles from Isenburg and Dausch that plated a run each and brought forward the mercy rule win.

Bunker Hill will face the winner of Crown Point White and Kokomo UCT Thursday at 8 p.m., the latter opponent winning its opening game against Griffith Tuesday.

Elsewhere in the 12u tournament, South Bend Eastside No. 2 defeated Northwestern, advancing to face South Bend Eastside No. 1 Wednesday night, while Kokomo Southside defeated Harris and will play the winner of the South Bend Eastside showdown Thursday at 8 p.m.

In the lower bracket, Griffith faced Harris and Northwestern took on Crown Point Blue in elimination games Wednesday evening.

At the Peru Northern Indiana Cal Ripken 11u State Finals, Bunker Hill suffered a setback in its opener against Mishawaka, falling 5-2.

The Braves scored two runs in the top of the first inning but allowed three in response in the bottom half.

A pitcher’s duel ensued as neither side scored again until the bottom of the fifth when the Cavemen added on two runs to send Bunker Hill to the lower bracket.

The Braves faced Griffith Wednesday evening as the Panthers lost to Russiaville in their opening game.

Elsewhere at Peru, South Bend Eastside No. 2 defeated Hammond Hermits. Eastside will face the winner of South Bend Eastside No. 1 and Mishawaka Thursday at 8 p.m. Auburn defeated Kokomo Southside to advance and face the hosts Wednesday evening with the winner facing Russiaville Thursday at 8 p.m.