EATON — Eaton Little League held an All-Star Game between the National and American Leagues to cap off the end of their shortened season on Saturday, July 26.
The final score was 19-7 in favor of the National League after 6.5 innings, and while it will be fun for the kids to brag to their fellow teammates about who won, Saturday’s All-Star Game and additional festivities were in celebration of the season that nearly wasn’t.
“We had a couple bumps in the road,” Eaton Little League President Kevin Melling said. “With the whole social distancing thing, we had to make adjustments to our dugouts throughout the whole entire park, asked the parents to space themselves out. But other than that, things ran pretty smooth.”
The season began on June 8 and ended with championship games on Friday, July 24. The Papa John’s Pizza Emeralds became Coach Pitch League Champions while the Hometown Comfort Propane & Gas Red Sox finished as Major League Champions.
“The kids had fun and [were] excited to get out,” Melling said about the season. “You know, with school being cut short and everything else they — it’s good to see smiles on their faces and sometimes, you know, the agony of defeat. They live and learn and hopefully they grow from the experience.”
With COVID-19 causing a shortened season, Melling said it was an interesting year to make determinations about which players should be involved in the All-Star Game.
“We had myself and another board member watch several games up here,” he said. “We’re kind of just calling this like the President’s All-Star game. We decided to pick teams and we also called each coach in individually to talk to them get their perspectives of the kids. That’s how we decided the teams.”
The National League took an early lead under the hot summer sun, but the American League, undeterred by the early adversity, responded with a five-run third inning to help close the gap.
Despite the push from the American League, the National League put things away in the sixth inning with 10 runs, four of which came off of a grand slam by AJ Hatfield.
The National League All-Stars tallied 22 hits on the night and were led in hits by Landy Broyles who went 4-for-4 at the plate.
Braylen Witt led the American League All-Stars with two hits in three at bats.
Home Run Derby
In addition to the All-Star Game, Eaton Little League hosted a Home Run Derby to help cap off the end of the season.
Participants had 10 outs to hit as many home runs as they could with a home run being counted if it went more than 150 feet beyond home plate.
The players went through three rounds of the competition that ended with five players in the final round. Wyatt Sasser took the crown as he knocked in a total of 22 home runs through three rounds.
The Home Run Derby is not a normal competition that Eaton Little League holds, but something new that was added this season.
“It’s actually something that T-Mobile does and then it’s like the Pitch, Hit and Run,” Melling said. “This year was just something that we were going to get our feet wet with, and then hopefully open it up to the age groups that T-Mobile will allow us to the following season.”
National League All-Stars: Wyatt Sasser, Landry Broyles, Elijah Mihalus, Trenton Moore, Jonah Brinkley, Presley Stewart, Kale Weadick, Thomas Toschlog, Luke Kleinberg, Fletcher Jerdon, Joesph O’Connell, AJ Hatfield, Grant Kuhn, Assistant Coach Mark Kleinberg, Assistant Coach Brian Broyles, Manager Derrik Sasser.
American League All-Stars: Braylen Witt, Montgomery Roell, Dylan Gamble, Rylan Willard, Mason Thornburgh, Nicholas Marker, Gavin Marker, Seth Mendenhall, Kellan Foster, Isaiah Sizemore, Caleb Sams, Titus Moreland, Grady Ott, Assistant Coach Jeremy Thornburgh, Assistant Coach Robbie Sams, Manager Jake House.
Reach Braden Moles at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @BradenMoles