LA SALLE — Ottawa American All-Star Payton Carretto stepped to the plate in the fourth inning of his club's District 20 11-Year-Old Tournament game against Peru on Wednesday night within reach of a mark not many Little Leaguers get a chance to reach.
The left-handed hitting Carretto had already posted a trio of singles in as many at bats, needing just one more hit to go a perfect 4-for-4. However, Carretto didn't get that chance as he watched back-to-back pitches sail well wide of the strike zone and to the backstop, each allowing a runner to score, with the second tally that put the finishing touch on Ottawa's 14-4 victory in four innings here at Volunteer Field in Hegeler Park.
Ottawa now advances to the semifinals to play at 6 p.m. on Friday against the winner of Thursday's contest between Streator and Ottawa National.
"Payton is a kid who has played for me at every level and had never made All-Stars until this year, but he has worked his butt off and deserves to be on this team," said Ottawa American manager Jason Nix. "I think that showed here tonight, he really came through for us."
Peru took a 1-0 lead in the top half of the opening inning as leadoff man Adrian Arzola tripled to right on the first pitch of the game off winning pitcher Chandler Creedon (2.2 IP, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 H, 0 BB, 5 K) and scored on a wild pitch. Ottawa responded in their half by batting around and plating five runs, with Carretto delivering an RBI single, Ky Araujo lifting a sacrifice fly and Owen Lyons driving in a run with a fielder's choice. Two more runners crossed on wild pitches.
In the Ottawa four-run second, Jacob Rosetto and Carretto started things with back-to-back singles to left. Rosetto scored on an RBI grounder by Araujo and Payton ripped a two-run base hit to make it 9-1.
"I won the coin toss (for home or away) and it actually worried me a little to take home," Nix said. "During the regular season, I like to be visitors and hopefully jump on a team early. Peru scored that one early, but Chandler really settled in and threw some good pitches, including a couple of nice curveballs. Leading up to this tournament, our hitting was my number one concern and two was not making unforced errors. I thought we hit the ball well and, other than a couple of balls getting by us in the outfield, we played solid defense. All the kids did a great job."
Ottawa scored a single run in the third as Carretto lined his third hit of the night to center, and after moving to second on a wild pitch, scored on an RBI single off the bat of Araujo.
"I was just hitting the pitch where it was at," said Carretto. "The first one I just stayed back and hit it the other way to left and I did the same thing my next at bat and it went a little further. Then the third time up I hit one up the middle. I'm so excited to be on this team."
Peru cut into the disadvantge in the third with three runs, two on a Cameron Taylor single and one on a double to left-center from Peyton Cumming to make it 10-4.
Ottawa saw the first two batters retired quickly, but a single by Daklan Gage and walk to Anthony Barajas proceeded consecutive RBI singles by Creedon and Rosetto. Then with Carretto in the batter's box, both Creedon and Rosetto slide home on consecutive wild pitches to end the game.
At Volunteer Field, La Salle
Ottawa American All-Stars 14, Peru All-Stars 4 (4 inn.)
PERU (4) — Arzola cf 1-2-1-0, Molina p/lf 2-0-0-0, Taylor 2-1-1-2, Beck c 0-0-0-0, Cumming ss 2-0-1-1, Nawa 3b 2-0-0-0, Zborowski 2b/1b 2-0-0-0, Lamps 1b 1-0-0-0, Ernat 2b 1-0-0-0, Byrd 1-0-0-0, Leffelman rf 1-0-1-0, Piecha lf/p 2-1-1-0. Totals 17-4-5-3.
OTTAWA AMERICAN (14) — Creedon p/ss 3-2-1-2, Rosetto 1b 3-2-2-2, P. Carretto 3-3-3-1, Araujo ss/p 2-1-1-3, Gutierrez 2b 3-2-1-2, Rix 3-1-0-0, Lyons 2-1-0-1, H. Carretto lf 0-0-0-0, Arevalo cf 0-0-0-0, Gage cf 1-1-1-0, Barajas rf 1-1-1-0, Jackson rf 1-0-0-0. Totals 22-14-10-11.
Peru 103 0 — 4 5 3
Ottawa A. 541 4 — 14 10 2
LOB — Peru 2, Ottawa American 4. 2B — Cumming. 3B — Arzola. SB — Gutierrez. SF — Araujo. HBP — Arzola (by Creedon).
Peru ip r er h bb k
Molina (L) 3.0 10 6 7 5 1
Piecha 0.2 4 4 3 1 1
Creedon (W) 2.2 3 3 2 0 5
Araujo 1.1 1 1 3 0 0
Two outs when 10-run rule reached.