How far can Mt. Carmel’s 10-year-old all-star baseball go in the post-season? Perhaps as far as their defense takes them. Manager Rick Willis said that is the cornerstone of his team that opens district tournament play on Friday night in Lawrenceville.
“They play good defense,” Willis said. “They keep the ball in front of them. For being 10 years old, they do a good job of being heads up and knowing where the ball is going.”
Mt. Carmel faces Salem at 6 p.m. on Friday. Olney and Lawrenceville play at 8 p.m. before the tourney breaks down into a double-elimination format.
Pitching should also be a plus for the 10s. “We have two strong starting pitchers,” said Willis, while admitting that pitch count rules can present challenges in any Little League tournament.
“You play to win, but you have to plan on what you’re going to do in the second game” and beyond, Willis said.
Dayton Hall and Aaron Simmons are the primary stoppers, but which one gets the start on Friday will be a decision made closer to game time.
Ty Kanipe, Nathan Critchfield and Xander Willis are others that could go on the hill as well. Alex Calverley is the only lefthander on the pitching staff.
The 10s could surprise at the plate “when we’re all hitting the ball,” he said.
Hall and Beau Stipp are long-ball threats, along with Critchfield.
Willis’ team played in a tournament at Vincennes recently, where they defeated the Olney B team before losing to Indiana opponents Vincennes and Newburgh. Lawrenceville was at that tournament as well. Still, a full-strength Olney team appears to be the team to beat “besides us,” according to Willis.