KALAMAZOO - The Keweenaw Little League Minor (age 9-10) All-Stars landed the first blow, but couldn't survive the counterpunch Friday, losing their opener in the Michigan state tournament 11-6 to Traverse City West.
Keweenaw scored five runs in the top of the third inning to take the lead, but Traverse City West responded with six in the bottom of the third, including a grand slam.
Keweenaw tied it with a single run in the fourth, but TCW scored five times in its last two at-bats to lock up the victory in both teams' pool play openers.
Keweenaw's early surge came from Carter Crouch's RBI single, and two-RBI hits from Drake Schmitz (a double) and Taylor Gardner (a single).
Traverse City hit two homers in the bottom of the inning, including Graham Strickland's grand slam.
Schmitz led Keweenaw offensively, going 3-for-3 with two RBIs.
Sammy Erkkila added a pair of hits and scored twice for Keweenaw.
Nick Gustafson was the winning pitcher, allowing two earned runs on four hits in relief. Landon Johnson took the loss in relief for Keweenaw.
Keweenaw completes pool play this weekend, starting with a game tonight against Essexville Hampton and a game against Caledonia Purple Sunday afternoon.