EASLEY, S.C. – Fort Waynes dream of a world title ended Tuesday night a few runs and a few plays short.
The South Carolina District I host team topped the District 10 Big League team 6-2 in the U.S. championship game of the Big League Baseball World Series.
South Carolina avenged a 1-0 loss to Fort Wayne last Wednesday on the tournaments opening day.
Sometimes you get the bear, sometimes he gets you, Fort Wayne manager Wayne Horn said.
That certainly was the case Tuesday night as South Carolina, which managed just two hits and struck out 10 times against Fort Wayne ace Will Coursen-Carr last week, jumped on the left-hander early, scoring three first-inning runs.
Three Fort Wayne errors didnt help.
They had Wills rhythm and kept nipping at us early, Horn said.
South Carolina District I will seek its fourth world title since 2003 at 8 p.m. today in a live nationally televised (ESPN2 and ESPN3) game against International champion Puerto Rico.
The Fort Wayne team, which was comprised of players ages 16 to 18 from 15 Fort Wayne Big League teams, went unbeaten in U.S. pool play, outscoring its four opponents by a 23-4 margin. But South Carolina built a 6-0 lead after three innings and coasted from there.
We didnt get our bats going soon enough, Horn said.
Fort Wayne did manage a rally in the sixth inning, collecting five singles off South Carolina starter and winner Trey Hayes. Steve Remesnik of Carroll and Andre Jernigan of Homestead had RBI singles in the rally, but left three runners on base.
These are some great young men, Horn said. They play hard, they play smart. It just wasnt ours tonight.
Matt Kaplanis of Blackhawk Christian came on in relief in the fourth inning and pitched the rest of the way, allowing just one hit.
Coursen-Carr, whos bound for Indiana University, gave up six runs – just two earned – while walking four and striking out five over three innings.
But Horn said he never considered starting anyone else.
Hes our No. 1, and he had six days rest, Horn said. Give them credit – they got our No. 1. In a tournament like this you set it up so you can bring the top of the rotation back around and thats what we had.
Fort Wayne, which won the state and U.S. Central Region tournaments while never losing a game, advanced further than any Central Region Big League World Series representative since 2004. No Central Region team had ever won four BLWS games.
We had a great time, Horn said. You couldnt have asked for much more – except maybe a couple more wins.