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A big first inning propelled the Elizabethtown Area Baseball Commission 12-year-old All-Stars to the Cal Ripken West Kentucky State Tournament championship Tuesday night in Louisville.
Graham Meek, Ben Godfrey and Kass Disney each homered and Elizabethtown scored 10 times in the first inning en route to a 17-4 four-inning win over West Louisville in the championship game at Germantown Park.
“It really changes up what you can do later on in the game,” EABC coach Jeff Gregory said of his team’s first inning. “We’ve been blessed to have a couple of 10-run games earlier in the tournament and we didn’t run into any problems.
“As a coach, you like to score 10 runs in the first inning,” he added. “We swung the bats as well as you can swing it. We were dialed in. The kids’ energy levels were up.”
Leading 1-0, Meek and Godfrey hit back-to-back homers to make it 5-0. Gregory said Godfrey has been locked in lately at the plate.
“Four runs in the first inning is great,” Gregory said. “Then Godfrey came up and hit a shot. He’s just seeing the ball great. He’s just been pounding it.”
Two batters later, Trent Wood doubled to drive in Logan Greenwell for a 6-0 advantage. Four batters later with the bases loaded, West Louisville made a pitching change. Disney worked the count full before connecting on an outside pitch and hitting a grand slam to cap EABC’s outburst.
EABC sent 14 batters to the plate in the first.
“… We got some more runners on and Kass came up,” Gregory said. “They put in a pitcher who throws really hard and is really good. Kass got to a full count and the kid threw one that just looked to be outside, and Kass just drilled it. That kind of took the air out of their sails.”
Meek got the win as he allowed two hits and one run in two innings. He had two strikeouts. Coleman Clark struck out two and gave up three hits and two runs in two relief innings.
Greenwell added three singles for EABC, which scored 14 or more runs in three of its four tournament games. Elizabethtown topped Prairie Village, 14-1, Jeffersontown, 19-1 and St. Matthews, 2-1 en route to the title.
When asked what made his team’s offense so explosive during the tournament, Gregory wasn’t sure.
“Traditionally, this group has been a defensive team. But they’ve really turned it on lately,” Gregory said. “I don’t know if they’re reaching their peaks or it’s the extra batting practice we’ve had. They just all look really comfortable.”
Elizabethtown, West Louisville and St. Matthews all advance to next week’s Ohio Valley Regional, which starts July 26 at the Elizabethtown Sports Park.
CAL RIPKEN 11S: JEFFERSONTOWN 7, EABC 4. Tyler Wood homered and drove in three runs, but Jeffersontown held on to beat EABC for the second time in three days at Germantown Park. Jeffersontown routed EABC, 21-3 in the winner’s bracket championship Sunday afternoon.
Skyler Lucas added three singles, while Dirk Meinhart had an RBI single. Nate Tucker chipped in with a single and scored a run.
Reece McElfresh struck out two, walked two and gave up four earned runs as he took the loss.
EABC and Jeffersontown both advance to next week’s OVR, which starts July 26 at the Elizabethtown Sports Park.