2005 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 Center

Participating Teams City League
Illinois State Champions Kankakee Limestone LL
Indiana State Champions Seymour Seymour LL
Kentucky State Champions Owensboro Owensboro Southern LL
Michigan State Champions Grand Rapids Western LL
Ohio State Champions Boardman Boardman Community East LL
Wisconsin State Champions Bristol Lakeland National LL

NOTE: The 2005 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 (Friday, August 5):
Limestone (Illinois) 14, Boardman Community East (Ohio) 12 (9 innings)
Owensboro Southern (Kentucky) 2, Seymour (Indiana) 0 (No-hitter)

Day 2 (Saturday, August 6):
Lakeland National (Wisconsin) 4, Boardman Community East (Ohio) 1
Owensboro Southern (Kentucky) 9, Grand Rapids Western (Michigan) 6

Day 3 (Sunday, August 7):
Lakeland National (Wisconsin) 1, Seymour (Indiana) 0
Limestone (Illinois) 12, Grand Rapids Western (Michigan) 9

Day 4 (Monday, August 8):
Owensboro Southern (Kentucky) 10, Limestone (Illinois) 1
Seymour (Indiana) 5, Boardman Community East (Ohio) 2

Day 5 (Tuesday, August 9):
Grand Rapids Western (Michigan) 2, Lakeland National (Wisconsin) 0
Owensboro Southern (Kentucky) 7, Boardman Community East (Ohio) 6

Day 6 (Wednesday, August 10):
Grand Rapids Western (Michigan) 6, Seymour (Indiana) 1
Lakeland National (Wisconsin) 8, Limestone (Illinois) 6




Owensboro Southern (Kentucky) 4 0 13
Lakeland National (Wisconsin) 3 1 9
Limestone (Illinois) 2 2 39
Grand Rapids Western (Michigan) 2 2 22
Seymour (Indiana) 1 3 11
Boardman Community East (Ohio) 0 4 30

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 (Thursday, August 11)

Limestone (Illinois) 10, Lakeland National (Wisconsin) 2
Owensboro Southern (Kentucky) 5, Grand Rapids Western (Michigan) 1

Great Lakes Region Tournament Championship Game (Saturday, August 13)

Owensboro Southern (Kentucky) 11, Limestone (Illinois) 10 (TITLE)


The Atlanta Braves' record of sustained success in recent years has been unsurpassed by any other major league baseball team. After losing 97 games and finishing 26 games behind the Cincinnati Reds in the National League West in 1990, the Braves have won division titles in an unprecedented 14 consecutive seasons. The streak is so long that the Arizona Diamondbacks and Florida Marlins -- winners of three World Series championships collectively -- were still two years away from their inaugural seasons when Atlanta began playing deep into October.

Owensboro Southern Little League has compiled a similar run of success in recent years. Entering the 2005 international tournament, Southern had won the Kentucky state championship four times in five years, and in their only non-title year, finished as the state runner-up behind eventual 2002 Little League World Series champion Valley Sports American Little League (Louisville, Kentucky).

Put the Braves and Owensboro Southern together, however, and the results are somewhat less spectacular: Manager Ricky Hale's Braves team finished Southern's 2005 regular season with an 0-20 record. Despite this, Hale was handed the challenge of maintaining Southern's considerable legacy of international tournament success, which along with the collection of recent state championships, includes four earlier state titles as well as berths in the 1989 Bambino League World Series and the 2004 Little League World Series.

By the end of August, Hale's managerial record improved from oh-for-the-summer to just under .500. The onetime member of Owensboro High School's 1976 and 1977 state championship baseball teams navigated a squad that not only maintained Southern's legacy -- it enhanced it.

Owensboro Southern again won the Kentucky state tournament, and returned to the championship game of the Great Lakes Region tournament in Indianapolis, Indiana. Once there, Southern withstood a furious last inning rally to edge Limestone Little League (Kankakee, Illinois) by an 11-10 score. With the win, Owensboro Southern became the first league from a Great Lakes Region state to reach the Little League World Series in consecutive years since Michigan's Hamtramck National Little League in 1955 and 1956.

"This is so sweet," said Hale after the championship game. "When we started, we just wanted to play competitive and not get embarrassed.

"I believed in these kids wholeheartedly," added the Kentucky manager. "But in all honesty, I never would have dreamed this."

Southern outlasted Limestone in a wide-open title game that featured 26 hits, ten walks, eleven pitches that went to the backstop, and three more that hit batters. Both teams got contributions from the deepest depths of their rosters: Southern and Limestone combined for five home runs, including three by reserves and a fourth by Southern's ninth-place hitter.

Most of the fireworks came in the game's latter innings. Limestone took a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the first, and neither team scored again through three innings. Southern pinch hitter Zachary Brett drove the first pitch of the fourth inning over the center field fence to tie the game and open the floodgates as Southern sent twelve batters to the plate and scored seven times. Three batters after Brett's first-ever home run, ninth place hitter Matthew Johnson hit a two-run homer that put Southern in front for good. Pitcher Luke Daugherty added an RBI single, and pinch hitter Michael Jewell delivered a two-run single later in the inning as the Kentucky champions opened up an 8-2 lead.

Limestone reserve Matt Webber hit a solo home run in the bottom of the fourth, but Southern's Bryson Morrow cancelled out the drive with one of his own in the fifth. The next inning, Johnson's bloop single into left field drove in what turned out to be two critical runs.

Limestone, which overcame seven- and six-run deficits in its two pool wins at Indianapolis, made the final inning harrowing for Southern with a six-run rally that sliced an 11-4 deficit to a single run. Eleven-year-old reserve Max Hana opened the inning with a home run, and Jordan Ruckman and Wes Sproul each doubled in two runs. The Illinois champions had the tying run on second base when Owensboro finally recorded the game's final out.

"I've never been more proud of a team," said Limestone manager John Engelman of his team's charge in the game's final inning.

"It was tough at the end," said Hale. "They're a great hitting ballclub, and they almost came all the way back, but Nolan (Miller) had one more pitch in him."

Miller, who moved to the mound in the fourth inning, allowed a flurry of hits, but issued his only walk when he pitched around Limestone's Tyler Evans (.500 average and 13 RBIs in the region tournament) in the sixth inning.

"He was doing exactly what I was asking him to do," said Hale of his pitcher. "If they were going to win it, we were going to make them earn it, because Nolan was going to make them put it in play.

"We thought it could turn into a slugfest," added the Kentucky manager. "And our guys really stepped it up when we needed to get the offense cranked up. It's awesome for kids like Zach Brett and Michael Jewell to come through in the clutch like that -- it just shows you how much of a team we've become."

Southern traced its success to its only loss prior to the Little League World Series. Bowling Green-Warren County Southern Little League blanked the Owensboro club 4-0 in the finals of the Kentucky District 1 tournament before Owensboro Southern won 6-4 in a rematch the next night.

"Looking back, that loss helped us a lot more than it hurt us -- although you could have never told me that at the time," explained Hale. "It proved to our guys what can happen when you don't come to play ... Warren County Southern wanted that game a whole lot more than we did, and they went out and took it from us."

Southern applied the lesson in their opening games at Indianapolis. Pitcher Dalton West struck out fifteen batters and threw a no-hitter, and the Kentucky champions turned the game's only hit -- Brady Flaspoehler's first inning single -- into a pair of runs in a 2-0 victory over Seymour (Indiana) Little League.

The next day, Southern took a 5-0 lead into the bottom of the fifth inning against Western Little League (Grand Rapids, Michigan), but surrendered six runs before capitalizing on three Michigan errors in the sixth to win 9-6.

"I'm extremely proud of the way we responded to adversity," said Hale after his team rallied for the win. "The fifth inning (was) our worst inning of the year, and most Little League teams would have folded up the tent in that situation.

"Our guys came and said 'we're going to win it', then went out there and did exactly that. That's a pretty impressive thing to witness."

Perhaps more impressive was the effort of West two days later. The Kentucky right-hander followed his earlier no-hitter by striking out thirteen batters and driving in four runs as Southern rolled past Limestone, 10-1.

"He's the best pitcher I've ever seen," said Engelman, whose team hit .406 in its five other games at the region tournament, but managed only four hits against West.

"He dominated," added the Limestone manager. "He's got a major-league curveball."

"Dalton ... had a big day," said Hale. "He pitched a terrific game, and got the job done at the plate big time."

West's third hit, a three-run homer, capped a five-run fifth inning rally that put the game out of reach, and helped Southern clinch a spot in the Great Lakes semifinals for the third consecutive year.

Hale used Southern's final pool outing to set his pitching rotation for the tournament's endgame, and he eventually used his top three pitchers -- West, Daugherty, and Miller -- in a 5-1 semifinal round win over Grand Rapids Western. West struck out ten and carried a one-hitter through four innings in a 1-1 game, but switched positions after issuing his seventh walk to open the fifth. Daugherty relieved him, and stranded a pair of baserunners. After Southern struck for four runs in the bottom of the inning, Miller closed out the game by retiring the side in order in the sixth.

Daugherty and Miller both had a hand in Southern's decisive fifth inning rally. Morrow led off the inning with an infield hit, and Daugherty chased Western pitcher Brenden Carey (nine strikeouts and only four hits allowed) with a double off the left center field fence. Morrow scored the go-ahead run when the first pitch by Western's reliever went to the backstop, and Flaspoehler followed with an RBI single. After Miller singled, Southern added two runs on a pair of throwing errors following Bryan Sanders' grounder.

"The relief work by Luke and his double were big in the fifth inning," said Hale. "And the way (Miller) came in and threw strikes in the sixth was just tremendous. He nailed it shut for us."

Limestone also rode clutch pitching and timely hitting to their semifinal round win, a 10-2 decision over Lakeland National Little League (Bristol, Wisconsin). Ruckman, an eleven-year-old left-hander, threw a one-hitter, scored twice, and drove in three runs with three hits at the plate. His two-run double in the second inning snapped a 1-1 tie and put Limestone in front for good, and the Illinois champions sealed the win with four runs in the fourth and three more in the fifth. Evans created much of the mayhem for Limestone offensively, driving a solo home run in the first inning, a three-run double in the fourth, and a two-run single up the middle in the fifth.

Two days later, the runs were again plentiful, but Owensboro Southern had just enough left at the end to hold off the fast-closing Illinois champions. Southern became just the second U.S. league since 1957 to win a region championship game while allowing ten or more runs. West New York American (New Jersey) Little League defeated Huntingdon (Pennsylvania) Little League 16-10 in the 1966 Eastern Region championship game.

Like West New York, which won three state championships during the 1960s, Southern continued to build upon its legacy with the win.

"These players have a very high respect for the (Southern) players and coaches who have gone before them," said Hale. "Obviously, all of them are aware of what our program accomplished last year."

Just as they're no doubt aware of the standard set by Southern's Brad Wilkerson-led Bambino League World Series team from 1989. And just as the next generation of Southern all-stars -- which will likely include several returnees thanks to Little League Baseball's switch to an April 30 "league age" determination date -- will be well aware of this group's accomplishments, and primed for their own tournament run.

Hoping to build Southern's legacy, Brave-like, one tournament at a time.


  Pool Play Game 1 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Limestone (Illinois) 4 0 2 3 3 0 0 0 2 14 20 3
Boardman Community East (Ohio) 10 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 12 12 2
  Pool Play Game 2
Seymour (Indiana) 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 3
Owensboro Southern (Kentucky) 2 0 0 0 0 x 2 1 0
  Pool Play Game 3
Boardman Community East (Ohio) 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 5 3
Lakeland National (Wisconsin) 2 0 1 1 0 x 4 4 2
  Pool Play Game 4
Owensboro Southern (Kentucky) 1 0 0 1 3 4 9 4 1
Grand Rapids Western (Michigan) 0 0 0 6 0 0 6 4 4
  Pool Play Game 5
Seymour (Indiana) 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1
Lakeland National (Wisconsin) 0 0 0 0 1 x 1 2 0
  Pool Play Game 6
Limestone (Illinois) 1 0 2 9 0 0 12 12 1
Grand Rapids Western (Michigan) 2 5 0 1 1 0 9 14 1
  Pool Play Game 7
Limestone (Illinois) 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 4 3
Owensboro Southern (Kentucky) 1 0 3 1 5 x 10 10 0
  Pool Play Game 8
Boardman Community East (Ohio) 0 0 2 0 0 0 2 5 3
Seymour (Indiana) 0 2 0 0 3 x 5 5 1
  Pool Play Game 9
Grand Rapids Western (Michigan) 1 0 1 0 0 0 2 3 1
Lakeland National (Wisconsin) 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 1
  Pool Play Game 10
Boardman Community East (Ohio) 0 2 0 3 0 1 6 5 1
Owensboro Southern (Kentucky) 0 1 0 2 0 4 7 17 2
  Pool Play Game 11
Seymour (Indiana) 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 2 1
Grand Rapids Western (Michigan) 0 0 1 3 2 x 6 6 1
  Pool Play Game 12
Lakeland National (Wisconsin) 1 0 1 0 5 1 8 6 3
Limestone (Illinois) 3 0 0 0 3 0 6 8 1
  Semifinal Round
Lakeland National (Wisconsin) 1 0 0 1 0 0 2 1 3
Limestone (Illinois) 1 2 0 4 3 x 10 12 1
  Semifinal Round
Grand Rapids Western (Michigan) 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 1 3
Owensboro Southern (Kentucky) 0 0 1 0 4 x 5 6 0
  Championship Game
Owensboro Southern (Kentucky) 1 0 0 7 1 2 11 13 2
Limestone (Illinois) 2 0 0 1 1 6 10 13 0

Toward the past

Toward the present

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