In a 11-10 win over Texas West on Saturday night, the Lufkin All-Stars showed their resiliency in erasing a seven-run deficit in a game for the ages. On Monday night, they took all of the drama out of the game early on, using a relentless offense and a dominant pitching performance in pounding River Ridge, La., 8-0, in the Southwest Regional in Waco.
With the win, Lufkin remained unbeaten in all-star competition and moved within a single win of its first-ever trip to the Little League World Series in Williamsport.
They got there by riding the arm of Collin Ross and the bat of Hunter Ditsworth.
Ross pitched the first five shutout innings, allowing two hits and a walk to go along with three strikeouts. Although he didn’t put up the big strikeout numbers, he was backed by a defense that played error-free ball.
At the plate, Ditsworth provided the highlight of the night with a monstrous two-run homer that easily cleared the center field fence and gave the local all-stars a 4-0 lead.
He eventually finished the night with a homer, three singles and three RBI.
Chip Buchanan added a double, two singles and an RBI.
Lufkin set the tone from the opening pitch when Chandler Spencer roped a double down the first base line. After one out was recorded, Ditsworth delivered an RBI single to put Lufkin on the board.
Ross followed with a single and Buchanan hit an RBI double, making it 2-0.
After a scoreless second inning, Lufkin seized control of the game with a five-run third. Malcolm Deason started the inning with a single before Ditsworth hammered a homer that cleared both the wall and the ESPN2 cameras in center field.
Lufkin wasn’t done there as Mark Requena and Buchanan had back-to-back hits before Christian Mumphrey scored both of them with a two-run single for a 6-0 advantage.
Mumphrey came around to score the seventh run on a Kolby Kovar sacrifice fly that made it 7-0.
Lufkin added a final run in the sixth inning when Clayton Wigley hit an RBI single that made it 8-0.
From there, Buchanan pitched a perfect sixth inning, striking out one, to seal the victory.
Other hitters for Lufkin were Mumphrey (2 singles, 2 RBI), Wigley (single, RBI), Spencer (double), Deason, Ross and Requena (single) and Kovar (RBI).
Lufkin will now have a day off to prepare for Wednesday night’s championship game. The local all-stars will take on the winner of Tuesday night’s semifinal game between River Ridge, La., and McAllister Park (Texas West).
That game will be played at 7 on ESPN2.
Wednesday night’s championship game will be televised on ESPN2 at 6 p.m. It will be a winner-take-all title game despite Lufkin being undefeated and holding wins over Texas West and Louisiana.
Lufkin is likely to turn to Ditsworth, who struck out 14 batters in an opening win over Colorado. Each of Lufkin’s pitchers, with the exception of Ross, is eligible to pitch in the game.