ROCK FALLS — The Rochelle Little League 14U Baseball All-Stars went 3-0 to win the Illinois Little League District 19 Championship tournament earlier this week. Rochelle took down Rock Falls 17-3 in the first round on Friday before defeating Sterling 10-9 on Saturday to reach the final round. Rochelle faced Sterling again on Monday, winning 11-1 to clinch the title. The Rochelle 14U Baseball All-Stars will advance to compete in the Sterling Sub-State tournament.
Van Gerber started on the mound for Rochelle, throwing all five innings and striking out four batters. Rochelle took a 3-0 lead with three runs in the top of the first inning. Gerber delivered an RBI double to score Ethan Goodwin before Gerber scored on a catching error two batters later. Frankie Pelan walked and scored on another catching error to keep Rochelle going. Rock Falls responded with two runs on three singles and one walk in the bottom of the first inning.
Rochelle scratched six runs in the top of the third inning to take a 9-2 lead. Goodwin doubled and scored on an RBI single from Pelan, who scored on an error soon after. Gavin Neale and Tony Milburn then slapped back-to-back singles, with Milburn recording an RBI to bring Neale home. A two-RBI single from Reece Harris plated Milburn and Deegan Schabacker to extend Rochelle’s lead before Goodwin popped up to second and reached on an error to score Harris.
Keagan Albers scored on a dropped third strike to put Rochelle ahead 10-2 in the top of the fourth inning. After Rock Falls answered with one run in the bottom of the fourth inning, Rochelle exploded for seven runs in the top of the fifth inning. Caden Goodwin singled and scored on an RBI groundout from Mark Green before Pelan belted a two-RBI triple to score Ethan Goodwin and Gerber. Pelan then crossed home plate on a wild pitch from Rock Falls.
Leading 14-3, Rochelle continued its offensive threat with Albers scoring on a wild pitch and Green drawing a bases-loaded walk to score Neale. Ethan Goodwin pummeled an RBI single to plate Schabacker, who walked earlier in the frame, for Rochelle’s final run of the evening.
Ethan Goodwin tossed four and two-thirds innings for Rochelle, striking out eight batters before Frankie Pelan and Mark Green entered in relief, throwing two and one-third combined innings. Sterling held the early lead with one run on one double and a groundout in the top of the first inning. Rochelle scored twice in the bottom of the first inning, with Ryan Senne reaching on an error to score Caden Goodwin and Pelan hitting an RBI groundout to plate Ethan Goodwin.
Sterling tied the game at 2-2 with an RBI single in the top of the second inning before another RBI single put Sterling up 3-2. Sterling extended its lead with two runs on two singles and two walks in the top of the third inning. Trailing 5-2, Rochelle tallied five runs in the bottom of the third inning to go ahead 7-5. Ethan Goodwin walked and scored on a fielder’s choice groundout from Pelan before Keagan Albers drew a bases-loaded walk to bring Pelan across home plate.
Reece Harris smacked an RBI single to plate Parker Slattengren and Green followed with an RBI single soon after to bring Harris home. Sterling answered with a two-run homer in the top of the fourth inning to tie the game at 7-7. Sterling surged ahead with two runs on two doubles in the top of the fifth inning, but Rochelle responded with three runs in the bottom of the fifth inning behind an RBI single from Caden Goodwin and a two-RBI single from Green.
Frankie Pelan limited Sterling to one hit and one run across four and two-thirds innings pitched in the championship game. Mark Green entered in relief and recorded the final out for Rochelle. Ethan Goodwin brought Green home with an RBI double to give Rochelle a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning. Deegan Schabacker reached on an error in the bottom of the second inning, allowing Colten Manning and Gavin Neale to score and put Rochelle up 3-0.
Caden Goodwin pelted an RBI single to score Tony Milburn in the next at-bat, contributing to a seven-run frame for Rochelle in the bottom of the second inning. A two-RBI double from Ethan Goodwin and an RBI single from Ryan Senne gave Rochelle a 7-0 lead before Keagan Albers drew a bases-loaded walk to score Senne. Pelan blasted an RBI double to plate Ethan Goodwin and make it a 9-0 game in the bottom of the third inning. Deegan Schabacker’s RBI single in the bottom of the fourth inning scored Neale and gave Rochelle a 10-0 advantage.
Sterling scored its lone run on a steal of home in the top of the fifth inning. Rochelle sealed the title when Pelan hit an RBI single to score Green in the bottom of the fifth inning.