MT. CARMEL - Olney’s 12U all-star baseball team played long ball in a big way Tuesday night, hitting six home runs in a 22-1 rout of Lawrence Co. in the opening game of the District 1 Little League tournament at Ed Walter Park.
“We’ve really worked on our hitting this past week. We’ve got some bigger older kids right now. We hit it well,” said Olney coach Chris Miller after his team sent 19 batters to the plate in a 13-run third inning to finish Lawrence Co. off in a game shortened to four innings.
No one hit the ball better for Olney than Dawson Hawkins, who homered in his first three at-bats before walking in his final appearance.
“He’s been a big force all year even in the (regular-season) league,” said Miller of Hawkins, who hit a 3-run shot in the first, added a 2-run blast in the second then a second 3-runner in the third.
Caleb Foster, Seth Ingram and Chase Williams also homered in the win.
Lawrence County’s lone run even came on a long ball, a first-inning solo shot from Cale Powell that for a brief time gave the visitors on the scoreboard a 1-0 lead.
Olney countered with five in the home half of the first inning then added four in the second before cutting loose in the third.
Now 1-0 in tourney play, Olney returns Tuesday at 7 p.m. to play Mt. Carmel, which received an unexpected first-round bye when Salem withdrew from the tournament field Sunday, reducing the district field to three teams.
“Mt. Carmel’s a great team, and they’re at home,” Miller said. “We’re looking forward to the challenge.”
Last year, Mt. Carmel’s 11-year-old all-star team defeated Olney en route to the district championship at Salem, one week before adding a sectional title and advancing to the state tourney in Chicago.
The two teams have met already this summer, two weeks ago in a tournament setting in Olney. Despite the long ball threats on both clubs, pitching prevailed in Mt. Carmel’s 4-0 victory.
“They have a couple big hard throwing kids,” recalled Miller from the earlier matchup. “It’ll be a tough challenge.”
Lawrence Co. (0-1) returns Wednesday at 7 p.m. to play the loser of Tuesday’s game. The double-elimination tourney could continue through Saturday, if necessary.