The Ohio Elite 12U baseball team had a memorable run during the USSSA Global World Series earlier this month in Orange Beach, Alabama, battling its way through the loaded 34-team field to nab runner-up honors.
The squad won its first four games to secure the No. 4 seed. It dropped Texas Christians Baseball (Texas), North Shore Dodgers (Louisiana), Southern Swarm Baseball (Mississippi) and Texans Baseball (Texas) to get things rolling.
Ohio Elite, a group made up primarily of kids from the Buckeye Valley Local School District, then marched all the way to the final before falling to the Columbia Warriors.
The end result was a bummer, especially considering the squad had a 4-0 lead heading into the bottom of the third, but the boys experienced plenty of excitement on the way to the championship.
OE, trailing South Texas Prodigy 7-2 with two outs in the final inning of its quarterfinal, rallied for an 8-7 win to keep its run alive. Mason Kurtz took one for the team, starting the rally by getting hit by a pitch. Michael Franckhauser, Troy Scowden and Landon Grosse followed with back-to-back-to-back hits, Austin McGowan was hit by a pitch and A.J. Foltz followed with a line-drive single to put runners at the corners.
That’s when Dylan Thompson stepped to the plate. With the tying run on third and winning run on first, Foltz broke for second on a two-strike pitch before Thompson laced a curveball to the left-center gap, scoring both runners to cement the win.
Ohio Elite picked up where it left off in the semifinal, scoring three runs in the first top jump on top of the Dallas Mustangs. The Mustangs answered with three of their own in the bottom half, but OE hung on for a 7-6 win to punch its ticket to the final.
Andrew Sass, Owen Osborne, Aiden Reis and Jake Smothers also played pivotal parts to Ohio Elite’s deep tourney run.
Reach Ben Stroup at 740-413-0905 or on Twitter @delgazette_ben.