FORT WAYNE, Ind. - The Delta County Junior Boys' Little League All-Stars (age 13-14) kept their playoff hopes alive Monday, posting an 8-2 baseball triumph over Fargo, N.D. in the Central Regional tournament.
The victory enabled Delta County to gain a split in Monday's games after dropping a 17-11 decision to defending regional champ North Canton, Oh.
Delta County continued to pitch by commmittee, with Jake Peterson starting and Bryant Beem finishing the contest.
"We switched pitchers mainly out of necessity," said Delta County manager Tony Punzel. "We wanted to save arms for tomorrow."
Delta County needed a victory over LaGrange, Ky. this morning to advance to Wednesday's quarterfinals. The semifinals and title contest are scheduled for Thursday.
Sean Bissell collected three hits, including a two-run homer in the sixth inning against Fargo. Brandon Punzel, Jack Valentine, Beem and Peterson added two hits apiece.
Delta County was trailing 2-1 going into the third, but tied the contest on back-to-back doubles by Bissell and Brandon Punzel tied the score. The area boys then gained a 3-2 lead on Logan Lamb's sacrifice fly and made it 4-2 on Valentine's single.
Fargo scored both of its runs in the first.
Delta County, which was 14-of-29 at the plate, then trimmed its deficit in half on Valentine's solo shot in the second.
"We hit pretty well," said manager Punzel. "We got six hits from our bottom three batters. A lot of kids were getting aboard."
Delta County committed 10 errors in Monday's opener against North Canton.
"We had to move kids around on defense," said manager Punzel. "We had a lot of kids playing out of position because the situation dictated. We're trying to make it into the playoff rounds."
Bissell had two hits and Beem rapped a three-run homer for Delta County, which trailed 15-1 after three innings.
"We battled back and it carried over into the next game," said manager Punzel. "They (North Canton) are very beatable."