State Champions:PCA tops Russellville

Published 12:00 am Friday, July 26, 2002

A big second inning powered the Phenix City All-Stars to the 11- and 12-year-old Alabama Little League State Championship last night at the Andalusia Sports Complex with an 8-5 win over the Russellville All-Stars.

Joey Keyser played a big role in the win, including a second-inning rally in which he hit a grand slam home run to increase PCA's lead to 5-0.

Keyser, however, did not limit his talent to just one inning.

He scored the first run of the game after reaching base when he was hit by a pitch in the top of the first. He scored when Nathan Kilcrease was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded.

Keyser continued to shine in the bottom of the first inning as the starting pitcher for PCA. He struck out the first batter he faced before giving up a walk. He got the next two batters on ground outs to end the inning.

In the top of the second, PCA's Scott Balkcum reached on a bunt single. Josh Hurst kept the rally going with a single. Cody Pearcy followed Hurst in the batting order and loaded the bases when he was hit by a pitch. Balkcum scored when Austin Allison hit an RBI-single.

Only one run scored on Allison's hit, leaving the bases loaded for Keyser.

Keyser unloaded the bases with a moon shot over the right field fence for a grand slam home run.

Russellville made two pitching changes and got out of the inning when Jonathan Dill struck out batters for the second and third outs of the inning.

PCA added one run to their score in the top of the third when Pearcy was hit by a pitch for the second time in the game. Once again he rounded the bases after the free pass, scoring on a fielder's choice by Keyser.

Russellville's offense came to life in the bottom of the third. Jordan Hammond, Dill and Jake Ward drew three consecutive walks to load the bases. Hammond and Dill scored on a two-RBI double by Caleb Mitchell. Ward and Mitchell scored later in the inning on an error.

PCA got out of the inning with the lead, but it had been trimmed to just three runs at 7-4.

Russellville cut a little more off the lead in the bottom of the fourth inning when Dill reached base on a walk and came around to score. He scored on a wild pitch.

Neither team scored in the fifth inning, but Russellville Coach Donnie Flannagan was ejected from the game before the sixth inning began.

The score remained 7-5 until the top of the sixth inning when Keyser led-off the inning with a solo home run. The solo shot gave PCA an 8-5 lead.

In the bottom of the sixth, Russellville had runners on first and second with one out. PCA, however, managed to get out of the jam for an 8-5 win earning the Alabama Little League State Championship.

Keyser ended the game with six RBIs and two runs scored. He pitched three innings allowing four runs on five walks and one hit. He struck out four.

Jeremy Boyte went to the mound as a relief pitcher in the top of the fourth with no outs and went the rest of the way. He allowed one run on four walks and three hits. He struck out four.

The members of the State Champion Phenix City All-Stars are Cody Pearcy, Josh Hurst, Austin Allison, Nathan Kilcrease, Ricky Richards, Chad Robinson, Jeremy Boyte, Scott Balkcum, Joey Keyser, Bryce Lane and Cody Dukes. The team is coached by Rusty Keyser, Tommy Allison and Alex Balkcum.

The members of the State Runner-Up Russellville All-Stars are Caleb Mitchell, Torey Baird, Haleigh Bewley, Corey Flannagan, Jake Ward, Matthew Crawford, Jonathan Dill, Josh James, Jordan Hammond, Trey Hooper, Tanner Reeps and Troy Oliver. The team is coached by Tom Bewley, Donnie Flannagan and David Ward.