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Hancock rallies late to stun Cape American

July 3, 2019
By CHUCK BALLARO ( , North Fort Myers Neighbor

Midway through Thursday's 12-year-old Little League All-Star game between Hancock and Cape Coral American, a Hancock fan looked at the scoreboard to see Cape American holding an 8-1 lead.

"We only need a touchdown," he said.

He got more than that. Try the equivalent of a touchdown and a safety as Hancock overcame that late deficit with four in the fifth and five in the sixth to stun Cape American 10-9 at Koza-Saladino Park in the District 9 playoffs.

Article Photos

The Hancock 12-year-old Little League team. Top row, from left, coaches Kurt Donaldson and Chris Jock. Middle row, P.J. Marino, Brady Jock, Barrett Hall, Jael Lawton and Clark Daley. Bottom row: Bobby Wilenius, Hunter Fretwell, Logan Pellerito, Cesar Rios.

Barrett Hall had a two-run double in the sixth and Bobby Wilenius, the winning pitcher in relief, doubled in what would be the winning run for Hancock, ich would then hang on as a late Cape rally was snuffed out.

Coach Kurt Donaldson called one of the biggest victories in Hancock's history.

"We got a few breaks, started hitting the ball and playing defense. Baseball is a strange game. It's never over until it's over," Donaldson said. "We got some good at-bats and got their starter out of the game."

Cesar Rios had four RBIs and Clark Daley added three for Hancock which, despite the win, will need some help to move on in District 9 play pending the results Monday.

Hancock, who had lost to South Fort Myers and shut out Port Charlotte, faced a crucial game that in many ways resembled an elimination game. Both teams would have to wait through a rainout on Wednesday and a one-hour lightning delay Thursday to get it.

In the beginning, it seemed the question was how long it would take for Cape American to secure a mercy rule win. After allowing a run in the first on a Cesar Rios RBI grounder, Cape American responded with four in the bottom of the inning.

Jakob Wagner, who pitched brilliantly into the fifth, helped his cause with a two-run double on which he would score himself on a throwing error. Donavon Ingram later drove in a run on a sac fly to make it 4-1.

In the second, Isaac Jackson drove in a pair with a double, and Hunter Krawzcak added an RBI double in the fourth to make it 8-1.

Wagner would eventually reach his pitch limit and Hancock responded.

Rios would drive in two with a single and Clark Daley would do the same to cut the lead to 8-5, setting up the huge sixth inning rally that made the score 10-8.

Cape American got its first two runners on in the sixth on walks (They drew nine free passes) and brought home one on an RBI single by Elijah Schulze, but Ingram flied out to center to end the game.

Brady Jock, who started on the mound and was lifting without recording an out, redeemed himself at the plate, scoring three times. Hunter Freewell scored twice.

"I didn't get the win, my team did. We started hitting the ball and scoring. We knew we weren't out of it, even when it was 8-1," Wilenius said. "When we took the lead, we had it in the bag."

Wagner had two hits, two RBIs and scored three runs for Cape American. Kaden Perez also scored three, walking three times.

"Our starting pitcher had a great game, and he got tired and couple plays changed the game. Our last pitcher doesn't really pitch but he did his job. He got hit around a little and we didn't make some plays," said Jim Lanzilotta, Cape American coach. "I'm proud of this team. They never quit."



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