LAURELTON — If Milton was to pierce the armor of the hottest team in the elimination bracket Tuesday, it had to produce some runs right away.
Ty Locke and Aaron Haines led off the game with singles for Milton. They advanced to second base and third with no outs in the top of the first inning, but that's where they stayed.
"The coaches and I talked about it at the end of the game: those two runs (had they scored), this might have been different," Milton manager Amos Leon said.
Central Columbia pitcher Brady Harmon struck out three consecutive batters to end Milton's early threat, and the red-hot Central Columbia offense took over. It scored 15 runs in two at-bats to beat Milton, 15-0, in three innings in the District 13 Little League 9-10-11 Division at the Field of Dreams.
Central Columbia advances to the championship to face Juniata County at 5:30 p.m. on Friday. Central Columbia, which lost to Juniata 14-8 last week, must beat Juniata County twice to claim the District 13 championship. Milton finishes its tournament at 2-2.
"We're just happy to be back in this spot," Central Columbia manager Nick Bailey said. "We told the kids (after the loss) if they played good defense and put the ball in play, good things would happen."
That might be a bit of an understatement. The Central Columbia bats have produced 74 runs in three victories in the elimination bracket, and Tuesday's game wasn't much different.
After Harmon made the first out to open the first, Dylan Brokenshire doubled and went to third on a wild pitch. After a walk and a fielder's choice loaded the bases, Frank Lutz walked to force in a run. After an out, a second walk with the bases loaded made it 2-0. Shane Bardo then followed with a two-run single.
Another run scored on a throwing error and a walk before Harmon doubled home two more runs for a 7-0 lead. Harmon later stole home for to push Central Columbia in front 8-0.
Central Columbia sent 13 more batters to the plate in the top of the second inning. With one out, Braylon Hutchinson tripled to the right-field fence, and, after a walk, he scored on Dominic Taylor's RBI single. Two more walks forced home a run, before a strikeout and a walk loaded the bases again. Brokenshire then singled home two more runs for a 13-0 lead.
After a walk, Hutchinson gave the Central Columbia the chance to end the game in three innings with his two-run single that made it 15-0.
After allowing the first two hits of the game, Harmon found a groove, striking out eight consecutive hitters. The string ended with a hump-back liner to third that end the game via the mercy rule.
"We told the kids after the game, you can't let one game define you," Leon said. "We as coaches have been on both ends of games like this. You just have to keep working."
DISTRICT 13 TOURNAMENT
at Field of Dreams, Laurelton
CENTRAL COLUMBIA 15, MILTON 0 (3 inn.)
Milton`000` — 0-2-2
Central Columbia`87x` — 15-6-0
Ty Locke, Aaron Haines (1) and Brady Wolfe. Brady Harmon and Carter Bailey.
WP: Harmon; LP: Locke.
Milton: Locke 1-for-2; Haines 1-for-2.
Central Columbia: Harmon, double, 2 runs, RBI; Dylan Brokenshire 2-for-3, 2 doubles, 2 runs, 2 RBIs; Braylon Hutchinson 2-for-3, triple, 3 runs, 2 RBIs; Frank Lutz, 2 runs; Nolan Beagle, 2 runs; Shane Bardo, 1-for-1, 3 RBIs.