MUSKEGON - An early stumble proved too much for the Portage Lake Little League Minor (age 9-10) All-Stars to survive Monday. West Portage's first five batters came around to score in a 6-4 game that ended PL's state tournament bid.
"We matched up very even, I thought. I thought our team played fantastic. We didn't give them anything. They just got one more big hit than we did, and that was in the first inning right out of the gate," PL manager Don Hill said.
West Portage got four hits and a walk from its first five batters, eventually resulting in five runs and chasing starting pitcher Davin Hill.
Mason Mikesch came in and put out the fire, as PL hit itself back into contention with a three-run bottom of the inning.
Hill singled and Austin Salani drove him in with an RBI triple. Eli Larson followed with RBI single and Tanner Larson drove in a third run with a double.
Both sides played three scoreless innings in a row and scored once in the fifth. Portage Lake got its run after Salani drew a walk and Mikesch and Colin Cowell followed with singles. Unfortunately for PL, both Mikesch and Cowell got stranded on the bases.
Against the wall in the sixth, Emmett Larson drew a one-out walk but nothing developed from there.
Mikesch ended up with a line of six innings pitched, one run on seven hits and no walks. He struck out four.
West Portage advances along with group winner Blissfield to the quarterfinals today. Portage Lake heads home 1-2.
"The kids were fantastic and represented our community wonderfully," Don Hill said.?"There's good baseball all over the place. Our season's short, which puts us behind the 8-ball a little bit, but we can play with anybody."