Lexington team ends local Little League dream

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Elidas smashes walk-off grand slam against Richmond

By John Herndon

(Editor's note: A slideshow of Little League District Tournament action can be found on the homepage.)

HARRODSBURG -- The top seed in the District 3 tournament meant little for the Anderson County Little League 11- and 12-year-old all-stars Friday night.

Third-seeded Western National of Lexington scored twice in the bottom of the first, then rolled to a 7-2 win in the tournament semifinals at Harrodsburg’s Anderson-Dean Park.

Anderson could not take advantage of six Western National errors and managed just four hits off Western National starter Joshua Hamlett. Anderson stranded seven runners as Hamlett kept Anderson hitters off balance, effectively changing speeds throughout the contest. Hamlett struck out seven and walked just one before being lifted with one out in the top of the sixth when he reached the mandatory limit of 75 pitches.

Western National’s Tristian Easley reached Anderson starter Josh Brown for a two-run double in the first, then the Lexington team added an unearned run in the second and scored again in the third as Ben Alexander scored when Jon Bowlds hit into a bases-loaded double play to make it 4-0.

Dusty Puckett kept Anderson within striking distance in the fourth when he reached on an error, then after stealing third, scored on another miscue.

But Western National put things away in the fifth, scoring three times. Anderson’s Brandon Elidas circled the bases when he doubled, then scored on a throwing error on the same play.

Anderson was never able to get the key hit, leaving four runners in scoring position.

While the loss eliminated Anderson from the chase for state tournament and Little League World Series berths, the All-Stars are expected to continue playing in invitational tournaments throughout the remainder of the summer.

Anderson County 8, Richmond American 4

Anderson sewed up the tournament’s top seed with an 8-4 extra-inning win over Richmond American in the final pool play game Wednesday.

Brandon Elidas ended things in dramatic fashion, smashing a walk-off grand slam with one out in the bottom of the seventh. Zachary Carmichael, Dusty Puckett and Blake Long scored ahead of Elidas on the smash.

Puckett had given Anderson a 2-0 lead with a first inning double that scored Mason Hardin and Josh Brown, then Brayden Russell plated another run with a second inning single that scored Long. Anderson appeared in total control when Puckett came home on the back end of a double steal with Elidas in the third, but Richmond American rallied for four runs, two unearned, in the fourth.

Richmond had runners at second and third with one out in the fifth but Hardin recorded two strikeouts to end the threat and set the stage for the memorable finish.

Carmichael, who retired the only two batters he faced, got the win in relief.

RICHMOND AMERICAN    000    400    0 -- 4    7    1

ANDERSON COUNTY    211    000    4 -- 8    8    2

Templeton, Lakes (4) and Cummins, Kendrick (4). Elidas, Hardin (4), Carmichael (7) and Stockton. W -- Carmichael. L -- Lakes. 2B -- Swafford (RA), Hicks (RA), Puckett (AC) 3B -- Harmon (RA) HR -- Elidas (AC).

ANDERSON COUNTY    000    101 --     2    4    2

WESTERN NATIONAL    211    03x --    7    8    6

Brown, Carmichael (5) and Stockton. Hamlett, Lunz (6) and Maas. W -- Hamlett L -- Brown. 2B -- Elidas (AC), Alexander (WN), Easley (WN) 2.