ASHTABULA — Survive and advance is the mantra for every coach in tournament play.
Galion head coach Joe Payne is glad his ballclub put that into practice on Monday at the Ohio 11U Little League State Tournament. Galion shut down Mount Vernon, 7-2, at Cederquist Park in Ashtabula to keep its postseason alive.
“We had Jackson Staton on the mound for us tonight, and he only had one walk all night and was one batter shy of a complete game,” Payne said. “He was throwing strikes and we had players hitting the ball, and just kind of cruised. It was kind of uneventful, but that’s the kind of game that a coach doesn’t mind.”
Payne said several players provided key hits for the orange and blue. Lance Gregory recorded a pair of hits and Rece Payne had a double off the left-field fence.
Mount Vernon is now out of the tournament after losing both games it played. The Knox Countians dropped a 7-6 decision to New Albany in their first game last Saturday.
Galion (3-1 tournament record) split a pair of games last Saturday to open the tournament. The orange and blue topped Maumee, 6-4, but lost to defending 11U state champion Canfield, 11-1. Galion bounced back on Sunday with a 16-6 victory over Ashtabula.
Next up for Galion is the winner of the Hamilton-Dover match-up, which is set for Tuesday evening. Hamilton (1-0) and Dover (1-0) have each played just once in the tournament.
Payne said Galion gained some good fortune with the schedule and will be able to have its top two pitchers available for the next two games. Alijah Evans is scheduled to pitch on Wednesday and Hanif Donaldson will start on Thursday if Galion advances.
“We are definitely on the upswing right now,” Payne said. “Going into the tournament, we had a couple of our better 11-year olds playing up on the 12U team, and I think some of the boys were maybe intimidated a little bit by missing a couple of their players and couple of their pitchers. But I think they’ve hit their stride now. We’re getting hot at the right time. Right now, we’re as good as we can be.”
Ohio 11U Little League State Tournament
Cederquist Park, Ashtabula
Galion 6, Maumee 4
Wheelersburg 6, Ashtabula 2
New Albany 10, Eaton 5
Hamilton 11, Avon 1
Canfield 11, Galion 1
Dover 14, Wheelersburg 2
New Albany 7, Mount Vernon 6
Eaton 6, Avon 3
Galion 16, Ashtabula 6
Maumee 10, Wheelersburg 6
Galion 7, Mount Vernon 2
Eaton 11, Maumee 9
Hamilton (1-0) v. Dover (1-0), 6 p.m.
New Albany (2-0) v. Canfield (1-0), 6 p.m.
Galion (3-1) v. Hamilton/Dover loser, 6 p.m.
Eaton (2-1) v. New Albany/Canfield loser, 6 p.m.
Andrew Carter can be reached at 419-468-1117, ext. 2048. Connect with him on Twitter @ACGalionSports.