ROCHELLE — The Rochelle Little League 12U Baseball All-Stars recorded their second consecutive shutout on Thursday to open the Illinois Little League District 19 Championship tournament. Rochelle cruised over Freeport 12-0 in the semifinals to clinch a spot in the finals.
Warren Schweitzer started on the mound for Rochelle, throwing one and two-thirds innings while striking out three batters and allowing only one hit. Andrew Eyster entered in relief, tossing two innings with five strikeouts and one hit allowed. Jonathan Andrist recorded the final out in the semifinal matchup, striking out one batter to seal the Rochelle victory.
Rochelle took the early lead, scoring three runs in the top of the first inning. Trenton Cunningham drilled a two-RBI single to left that scored Eyster and Johnny Chadwick, who each walked to start the frame. Cunningham then scored on an error to make it a 3-0 game.
Rochelle added four runs in the top of the second inning to go ahead 7-0. Andrew Huerta delivered an RBI single through the middle that scored Connor Hunley, who singled earlier in the frame. Eyster then recorded a sacrifice fly to bring home Angel Argueta and put Rochelle up 5-0. Chadwick’s RBI single and Cunningham’s sacrifice fly plated Huerta and Chadwick.
Rochelle opened the top of the third inning with three straight walks drawn by Tyler Gensler, Alex Dyer and Luke Dickey. With the bases loaded and one out, Eyster crushed a three-RBI triple off the left-field fence to give Rochelle a 10-0 lead. Andrist belted an RBI double to center two at-bats later to score Eyster and make it an 11-0 game. Rochelle tallied one run in the top of the fourth inning behind a frame-opening double from Gensler and an RBI single from Huerta.
Eyster finished with a team-high four RBIs in the victory, while Cunningham ended the game with three RBIs. Eyster, Chadwick and Gensler each scored two runs for the Rochelle offense.