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Hancock 9-10 squad carries the torch

July 4, 2018
By CHUCK BALLARO ( , North Fort Myers Neighbor

Hancock Little League doesn't have a team this season that will make the quest to go to Williamsport.

This means that the league's 9-10 squad is pretty much representing them, and the team more than held its own against their District 9 foes.

But as is usually the case, the road to the district championship goes through South Fort Myers, a league with three times the members and much more in the way of resources.

Article Photos

Hancock 9-10 Little Leaguer Nathan Haney tags out South Fort Myers Alex A’Altrui at third during a 9-10 All-Star game against South Fort Myers on June 22.


While Hancock has narrowed the gap between them (it led both games it played against them), the margin for error was still very small and it wasn't enough for them as they lost the championship game to South for the second straight year.

Not bad for a team that was a sprained ankle away from disaster as it played with just nine players for a good part of the tournament.

Hancock struggled in nine-strong play last month, but really came on in 9-10 play with pretty much the same players. Only two 10-year-olds played for Hancock.

It did have some troubles early on against Cape Coral National on June 16 as they went to extra innings before blowing the game open with a five-run seventh inning for a 14-9 win.

Ryan Johnson and Kainen Adkins each scored three runs and got good pitching from Hunter Fretwell as they withstood a strong comeback.

Against Cape American two nights later, there were no such worries as Hancock blew the game open with nine runs in the fourth inning as Cape pitchers couldn't find the plate and Hancock used aggressive base running to fluster their opponents.

That placed them in the winner's bracket finals against South Fort Myers on the road, and the kids showed they could play with the giants from the south, even leading for a good part of the game in a well-pitched duel.

Fretwell dodged in and out of trouble and Hancock had plenty of opportunities to build its 1-0 lead, but a tough call at third and clutch pitching from Cal Crecelious kept the game tight.

Unfortunately, one bad inning led to four South runs, with Logan Weber's two-run single proving to be the winning hit in a 4-1 South win.

"We made a lot more errors than South did in the field," said coach Justin Crawford. "I think we're just as good as them and whenever we come here it puts tress on the team."

The loss put Hancock in the loser's bracket finals against Buckingham on Sunday afternoon, where it smacked its way to a wild 14-7 win to put Hancock in the championship against South, needing to win twice to capture the crown.

But it wasn't meant to be as South defeated them at Hancock on Tuesday. Hancock bolted out to an early 4-0 lead before the defense betrayed them, resulting in eight unanswered runs, all unearned.

Hancock cut the lead to 8-7 with three runs in the fifth (though a baserunning error proved costly), but South responded with a key base hit that scored two runs and led to a 10-7 victory.

"All the coaches helped us get through All-Stars and made us better players," said Ben Koebel, a first time All-Star. "They didn't make any errors and we did. But we had an amazing tournament and I'm proud of all these guys."

"We hit the ball good, but we didn't stop the ball that much. I thought we were as good as South," said Cole Crawford. "We did good. We came out and fought and only lost two games."



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