Kingsford knocked out of state Little League tourney

Kingsford pitcher Nick Nora delivers a pitch against Grosse Pointe Woods-Shores in a Little League baseball Majors division state tournament semifinal game at Howes Field on Tuesday. (Escanaba Daily Press photo by Mike Mattson)

GLADSTONE — There were few scoring opportunities for Kingsford on Tuesday as the fell to Grosse Pointe Woods-Shores 17-0 in four innings during the semifinals of the Little League baseball Majors state tournament held at Don Howes Family Field.

Kingsford managed just two baserunners, both in the second inning, as pitchers Jack Jones and Will Pflaum combined on a one-hitter for the suburban Detroit team. Jones struck out four and Pflaum fanned all six batters he faced.

The victory enabled Grosse Pointe to return for this morning’s state championship game against Dexter, which held off Bay City Northwest 10-6 in an earlier semifinal.

Riley Juneau led off the second with a single to right field for Kingsford’s lone hit.

Grosse Pointe rapped five home runs, running its total to 47 through this year’s tournament run.

Two of those came in the opening frame as Grosse Pointe put up eight runs before Kingsford had a chance to bat.

“That has kind of been our philosophy during the whole tournament,” Grosse Pointe head coach Jason Hill said. “We like to bat first and jump on teams.

“These kids have played together since they were 8 years old. They have a lot of tournament experience. The coaching staff just stays out of the way and lets them go out and play. Our pitchers threw strikes. A cushion like that means a lot when you’re on the mound. We watched them (Kingsford) play and I was extremely impressed.”

Matthew Greene’s two-run homer to center opened the scoring. Joe Randazzo gave Grosse Pointe a three-run cushion on a wild pitch. Adam Ayrault’s single to right made it 4-0 and Drew Hill’s grand slam homer to left raised the count to 8-0.

“I’ve never seen kids hit like that,” Kingsford head coach Hank McRoberts said. “We threw two of our better pitchers and couldn’t stop them. They can hit the fastballs and they hit our curves and off-speed stuff.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if they come out of here and do real well in the (Central U.S.) regional tournament. This was still a good run for us. We played nine games in the state tournament (including district) and went 7-2. We can’t complain about that.”

Joseph Wisniewski led off the second with a homer to right-center and Ayrault added a solo shot to right for a 10-0 advantage.

Grosse Pointe added three runs in the third and Wisniewski completed a 4-for-4 effort with a three-run blast to center in the fourth.

The winners collected 15 hits. Drew Hill and Greene finished 2 for 2. Ayrault also had two hits.

Henry McRoberts, the first of three Kingsford pitchers, absorbed the loss. He struck out one and surrendered eight runs on six hits through two-thirds of an inning.

Dexter built a 10-0 advantage by scoring seven times in the third inning of the other semifinal.

Dominic Sortor gave Dexter a 3-0 lead on a two-run double to center in the first and ripped another two-run double to center in the third.

Cole Arnett, Joey Tessmer and Brennan Parachek also finished with two hits.

Brayden Visel, who pitched five innings for the win, struck out 11 and walked three.