PERU — Six runs in the bottom of the third inning propelled the Rochelle Little League 10-12 Baseball All-Stars to an opening round victory against Moline in the Illinois Little League Section 4 Championship at Washington Park on Thursday. Rochelle improved to 1-0 in the tournament by topping Moline 12-5 in six innings.
Moline took a 1-0 lead after an RBI double in the first inning, and Moline added another run off one double and one single in the second inning. Trailing 2-0, Ethan Goodwin put Rochelle on the scoreboard with an RBI single up the middle that plated Grant Gensler.
Rochelle tied the game at 2-2 in the third inning when Brode Metzger reached on an error, and Rochelle took the lead 3-2 after Brandyn Metzger reached on an RBI infield single to the pitcher’s mound. A fielder’s choice grounder from Elias Koonce put Rochelle ahead 4-2, and Breydan Andrews delivered a pinch-hit, two-RBI single to right field that gave Rochelle a 6-2 advantage.
Moline cut the deficit to 6-5 after a three-run homer in the top of the fourth inning, but Rochelle bounced right back with five runs in the bottom of the frame. Goodwin’s single led to an RBI triple to center by Kaiden Morris, who then scored on the first of three consecutive RBI doubles, the first coming from Elijah Harley. Brode and Brandyn Metzger followed with RBI doubles of their own, and Brandyn scored on a passed ball to keep Rochelle ahead 11-5.
Xavier Villalobos reached on an infield single and scored on Harley’s RBI single in the bottom of the fifth inning for the game’s final run. Rochelle pitchers combined for 10 strikeouts in the game, with Goodwin and Carson Lewis each totaling three strikeouts in two innings thrown. Gensler and Koonce combined for four strikeouts in one and one-third innings.