2004 Little League® Baseball Great Lakes Region Tournament
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Great Lakes Region Tournament
Major Baseball Division

Toward the past

Toward the present

Great Lakes Region Tournament
Host - Central Region Headquarters; Indianapolis, Indiana
At Stokely Field; Reuben F. Glick Little League Baseball Center

Participating Teams City League
Illinois State Champions Mundelein Mundelein National LL
Indiana State Champions Highland Highland LL
Kentucky State Champions Owensboro Owensboro Southern LL
Michigan State Champions Grand Rapids Western LL
Ohio State Champions Hamilton West Side National LL
Wisconsin State Champions Appleton Appleton Einstein LL

NOTE: The 2004 Great Lakes Region Tournament used a pool play format. At the completion of pool competition, the top four teams advanced to single-elimination semifinal and championship round games.

Click here to view State Tournament results for Great Lakes Region Tournament participants.

Tournament Results:

Day 1 (Saturday, July 31):
Highland (Indiana) 7, Mundelein National (Illinois) 1
Appleton Einstein (Wisconsin) 6, Grand Rapids Western (Michigan) 2

Day 2 (Sunday, August 1):
Owensboro Southern (Kentucky) 4, Appleton Einstein (Wisconsin) 2
Hamilton West Side National (Ohio) 5, Mundelein National (Illinois) 3 (8 innings)

Day 3 (Monday, August 2):
Grand Rapids Western (Michigan) 6, Hamilton West Side National (Ohio) 2
Owensboro Southern (Kentucky) 6, Highland (Indiana) 4

Day 4 (Tuesday, August 3):
Mundelein National (Illinois) 3, Grand Rapids Western (Michigan) 1
Highland (Indiana) 3, Appleton Einstein (Wisconsin) 1

Day 5 (Wednesday, August 4):
Owensboro Southern (Kentucky) 15, Hamilton West Side National (Ohio) 1 (5 innings)
Mundelein National (Illinois) 3, Appleton Einstein (Wisconsin) 2 (7 innings)

Day 6 (Thursday, August 5):
Hamilton West Side National (Ohio) 5, Highland (Indiana) 3
Owensboro Southern (Kentucky) 6, Grand Rapids Western (Michigan) 3




Owensboro Southern (Kentucky) 4 0 10
Hamilton West Side National (Ohio) 2 2 27
Highland (Indiana) 2 2 13
Mundelein National (Illinois) 2 2 15
Appleton Einstein (Wisconsin) 1 3 12
Grand Rapids Western (Michigan) 1 3 17

The top four teams advance to the semifinal round.

Ties are broken based on records in head-to-head competition among tied teams. If a clear winner cannot be determined from head-to-head results, the tie is broken by calculating the ratio of runs allowed to defensive innings played for all teams involved in the tie. The team with the lowest runs-per-defensive-inning ratio advances.

In the event of a tie involving three or more teams, once the initial tie is broken, the remaining tied teams are again compared on head-to-head record to determine if a clear winner can be identified. If no clear winner can be identified from head-to-head results among the remaining tied teams, the runs-per-defensive-inning ratio is again used. This process is repeated until all ties have been broken.

Great Lakes Region Tournament Semifinals (Saturday, August 7)

Highland (Indiana) 6, Hamilton West Side National (Ohio) 2
Owensboro Southern (Kentucky) 8, Mundelein National (Illinois) 2

Great Lakes Region Tournament Championship Game (Monday, August 9)

Owensboro Southern (Kentucky) 3, Highland (Indiana) 0 (TITLE)


Cole Sturgeon had waited a year and two days for his opportunity to come. As an eleven-year-old, Sturgeon had been slated to start the championship game in the 2003 Great Lakes Region tournament, but missed the chance to take the mound when his Owensboro Southern (Kentucky) Little League all-star team was clipped 11-7 by Michigan's Midland Northeast Little League in the semifinal round.

One year later, Owensboro Southern again won the Kentucky state championship, and returned to the region tournament. The pitching plan was the same, and when Owensboro Southern reached the championship game, manager Vic Evans, Jr. looked to his team's ace.

"Cole is capable of taking his game to the next level," explained Evans. "I can't think of anyone I would rather hand the ball to with a championship on the line -- he's that good."

In the Great Lakes Region championship game, the left-hander raised his game -- and his team -- to new heights.

Sturgeon threw a one-hitter and struck out seventeen of the nineteen batters he faced as Owensboro Southern downed Highland (Indiana) Little League 3-0 at the Reuben F. Glick Little League Baseball Center in Indianapolis. With the win, Owensboro Southern advanced to the Little League World Series in South Williamsport, Pennsylvania.

Relying on a fastball clocked as high as 76 miles per hour, Sturgeon struck out the first eight batters he faced before allowing Nick Kovacich's bunt single in the third inning. The Kentucky hurler then fanned nine of the next ten batters to silence an Indiana offense that came into the game batting an even .300 collectively in the region tournament.

"He's got a golden arm," said Highland manager Ken Mahala, Sr.

"That's Little League World Series caliber pitching," concurred Appleton Einstein (Wisconsin) Little League manager Pat Buckley, whose team fell victim to a seventeen strikeout performance in Sturgeon's other extended pitching outing at Indianapolis. "He was very dominating."

For the tournament, Sturgeon struck out 40 batters in 14 innings, bringing his international tournament total to 94 strikeouts in 36-2/3 innings.

"(We had) a couple of (mental lapses)," said Mahala, Sr. of his team's championship game performance. "But it doesn't matter. Even if they get just one (run), we don't score against that guy."

Owensboro Southern got the run it needed in the second inning. Bryson Morrow singled with one out, and after a wild pitch, Nick Laster slashed a single down the right field line to score special pinch runner Donte Washington.

Owensboro added to its lead in the third inning, when a two-out error and three consecutive walks forced in a run. In the fourth, Sturgeon scored on Luke Daugherty's RBI single.

"When we got the first run, with what Cole brought to the game and the way he was throwing strikes, I felt like we were in good shape," said Evans.

Owensboro Southern was in good shape throughout the Great Lakes Region tournament, running its international tournament record to 18-0 with six consecutive victories. Southern, which had won the Kentucky state championship four times in five years but not reached the region championship game during that timespan, finally broke through by downing Mundelein National (Illinois) Little League 8-2 in the semifinal round.

Ross Gilliam and Jonathan Higdon -- along with Sturgeon, the only holdovers from Southern's 2003 region tournament qualifier -- led the way against the Illinois champions. Higdon singled and scored as part of a four-run first inning outburst, and later helped fuel Owensboro's three-run rally in the fourth by tripling in another run.

Gilliam, who contributed an RBI single in the fourth, allowed only one hit in five innings before Sturgeon closed out the win in the sixth. A series of wild pitches led to a Mundelein run in the first inning, but Gilliam settled down, retiring nine batters in a row at one point. He allowed only one baserunner to reach scoring position after the first inning.

"Hats off to Ross Gilliam," said Evans after the game. "He gave up one hit, no earned runs. That's a great performance from a kid who's (in) his first year of pitching."

Gilliam's conversion to pitching duties came when Evans decided he needed another pitcher for his Cardinals team in Southern's regular season league.

"We started working with Ross in January," said Evans. "He had never even pitched in the major league division at Southern before this summer. Obviously, all the work he did paid off."

Owensboro Southern clinched its semifinal round berth by winning its first two pool games. Sturgeon's masterpiece helped the Kentucky team defeat Appleton Einstein 4-2, then Luke Daugherty and Meghan Sims delivered two-run hits as Owensboro snapped a 2-2 tie with four runs in the bottom of the fifth inning in a 6-4 win over Highland. The loss was the first of the summer after fourteen consecutive victories for the Indiana team.

"Would I be surprised to see them again?" asked Evans, looking ahead to games beyond pool competition. "Not at all."

Evans' assessment proved correct, but first his team closed its pool schedule with a pair of wins, cruising to a 15-1 win over West Side National Little League (Hamilton, Ohio) and then downing Western Little League (Grand Rapids, Michigan) 6-3. Gilliam and Higdon each reached base four times and scored four runs against the Ohio champions, while Daugherty had three hits and five RBIs. Sims added a pair of hits and three runs batted in.

"By far, Kentucky is the best team in town," said Ohio manager Cliff Carter after his team weathered Southern's twelve-hit onslaught.

Carter's team nearly got a second crack at the Kentucky champions, but Highland overcame a 2-1 deficit with five runs in the fifth inning to claim a 6-2 semifinal round victory. Mike Bremer drove in the go-ahead runs with a two-run double, and Ken Mahala, Jr. later launched a two-run homer.

"The bottom of the order came out and got it going for us," said Mahala, Sr. of his team's fifth inning rally. The inning started when Highland's sixth, seventh, and eighth place hitters all reached base.

"We knew the top of the order was coming up, and we were going to get things started," added the Highland manager.

The next evening, Sturgeon smothered Highland's offense with hard fastballs and a sharp-breaking curveball, as Owensboro Southern clinched its first-ever trip to the Little League World Series.

"He does give us a nice advantage on the mound," said Evans of his staff ace. "We know someone is going to have to play awful well to beat him."

Owensboro Southern came within one pitch of reaching the U.S. semifinals at the Little League World Series, but Redmond North (Washington) Little League's Colin Porter belted a two-out, two-strike solo home run in the bottom of the sixth inning of what soon became a 3-2 Owensboro Southern victory. The run that Porter's home run provided dropped Southern behind South Caroline Little League (Preston, Maryland) in the pool standings on a tiebreaker, and the Kentucky champions finished third in the four-team group with a 1-2 record.

Owensboro's players were disappointed to come so close before being eliminated, but Evans saw a bigger picture.

"You finished your Little League career winning your last Little League game at Howard J. Lamade Stadium on ESPN," pointed out the Kentucky manager.

"How in the world could you not be happy with that?"


  Pool Play Game 1 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 R H E
Highland (Indiana) 2 0 0 3 0 2 7 11 3
Mundelein National (Illinois) 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 3 0
  Pool Play Game 2
Appleton Einstein (Wisconsin) 0 1 4 0 1 0 6 9 0
Western (Michigan) 0 0 0 2 0 0 2 4 1
  Pool Play Game 3
Appleton Einstein (Wisconsin) 0 0 0 2 0 0 2 2 2
Owensboro Southern (Kentucky) 0 4 0 0 0 x 4 6 1
  Pool Play Game 4
West Side National (Ohio) 0 0 0 1 0 2 0 2 5 6 3
Mundelein National (Illinois) 0 0 0 3 0 0 0 0 3 4 2
  Pool Play Game 5
Western (Michigan) 1 0 4 0 0 1 6 8 1
West Side National (Ohio) 0 0 0 2 0 0 2 4 3
  Pool Play Game 6
Highland (Indiana) 1 0 1 0 0 2 4 8 1
Owensboro Southern (Kentucky) 2 0 0 0 4 x 6 6 2
  Pool Play Game 7
Western (Michigan) 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 6 1
Mundelein National (Illinois) 2 0 0 0 1 x 3 6 0
  Pool Play Game 8
Highland (Indiana) 0 2 1 0 0 0 3 5 0
Appleton Einstein (Wisconsin) 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 4 1
  Pool Play Game 9
Owensboro Southern (Kentucky) 2 0 2 4 7 15 12 1
West Side National (Ohio) 0 0 1 0 0 1 2 3
  Pool Play Game 10
Appleton Einstein (Wisconsin) 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 2 5 0
Mundelein National (Illinois) 0 2 0 0 0 0 1 3 12 1
  Pool Play Game 11
Highland (Indiana) 0 1 2 0 0 0 3 5 2
West Side National (Ohio) 0 0 2 2 1 x 5 11 1
  Pool Play Game 12
Owensboro Southern (Kentucky) 1 0 0 1 4 0 6 12 1
Western (Michigan) 2 0 0 0 1 0 3 3 0
  Semifinal Round
Highland (Indiana) 0 1 0 0 5 0 6 7 1
West Side National (Ohio) 0 0 2 0 0 0 2 9 0
  Semifinal Round
Mundelein National (Illinois) 1 0 0 0 0 1 2 3 3
Owensboro Southern (Kentucky) 4 0 0 3 1 x 8 7 2
  Championship Game
Highland (Indiana) 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 2
Owensboro Southern (Kentucky) 0 1 1 1 0 x 3 3 0

Toward the past

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Last revision: 06/20/2005