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Hancock All-Stars kick into high gear

June 21, 2017
By CHUCK BALLARO ( , North Fort Myers Neighbor

After the Hancock Little League "9-strong" All-Stars reached the championship game, the other All-Star teams are ready to rumble starting this week.

Saturday, the 8-10 All-Stars, featuring many of the kids from the "9-strong" team, kicked things off against Cape Coral National at Verdow Field. Despite twice leading by six runs, Cape National rallied with a 10-run fifth inning for a stirring 15-11 victory.

Hancock coach Chris Euler said both teams had problems finding the plate after both starters pitched well early on.

Article Photos

Top row, from left: coaches Chris Euler, Clint Smith and Steve Petrovich. Middle row: Chandler Soloway, Landon Euler, Joel Lawton, Brady Jock, Barrett Hall and Bobby Wilenius. Bottom row: Chris Chitwood, Hunter Fretwell, Cesar Rios, Austin Schoolcraft, Logan Hawkins.


"I'm proud our kids were hustling and battling, but some of the things we did to them early they did to us late," Euler said. "The outcome wasn't what we wanted, but we'll be back."

The game didn't start as a slugfest. In fact, both teams' starting pitchers, Landon Euler for Hancock and Blake Labinia for CCN, pitched quite well with Cape National leading just 2-1 after three innings.

However, as is usually the case, pitching becomes an issue as both starters had to depart because of pitch counts. Both teams had problems getting the ball over the plate, as evidenced by the 24 walks issued by both teams.

"The weather didn't help. It was hot, and for the kid playing centerfield who comes in to pitch, it's tough," Euler said. "The big thing is to throw strikes and we had kids who struggled."

Hancock looked ready to blow the game open with a two-out, seven-run fourth inning that featured six walks and key RBI singles by Austin Schoolcraft, Barrett Hall and Cesar Rios, and a two-run single by Landon Euler for two of his four RBI on the day to give Hancock an 8-2 lead.

Cape National rallied behind Blake Labinia's two-run triple and Connor McGee's RBI single that cut the lead to 8-5. Hancock got those runs back in the fifth on a fielder's choice by Rios and another two-run single by Euler to make it 11-5.

Hancock couldn't make the lead stick as CCN walked eight times and got a two-run double by McGee and a three-run single by Brady Labinia to give Cape the come-from-behind win.

Closer Micah Cousineau sealed the win in the sixth.

"We talked all week about competing and they showed what it means to compete. They came back and I'm so proud of them," said CCN coach Mark Labinia. "Blake gave us what we expected and Micah came in and slammed the door."

Hancock Senior All-Stars started their best-of-three matchup at Buckingham on Saturday with Game 2 at Donaldson Park on Wednesday.

Hancock's 9-11 All-Stars kicked off play Monday night. The 50/70 team host Buckingham on Monday, with the winner facing Fort Myers American Wednesday.

The 10-12 team, the age that goes to Williamsport, Penn., for the Little League World Series, kicks off play next Sunday against either Cape Coral American or Fort Myers American at a site to be determined.



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