The Americans, who managed just two hits in Thursday’s 11-0 loss to Laredo, mustered just four hits in Friday’s elimination contest.
“We just really couldn’t get anything going tonight,” said Crowley coach Timmy Robichaux. “We had a few mistakes that extended innings and we just didn’t have an answer when they scored.”
The Americans found themselves in a 2-0 hole after the first half inning, but they bounced back in the bottom of the inning and scored one run. Bradley Ancelet doubled to get things started and moved to third on a single by Alex Ashby. Ancelet scored on Joe Faulk’s groundout, but the rally was cut short when Ashby was thrown out at third on the play.
League City took advantage of Crowley’s misfortunes and scored six runs in the top of the second inning. The Americans gave up five hits and three walks in the frame.
“The second inning was rough,” said Robichaux. “If we could have just kept it close right there, we had a chance. But we kept shooting ourselves in the foot and they took advantage of it.”
Crowley gave up just one run in the third inning but League City posted four more in the fourth on two hits and two errors to take a commanding 13-1 advantage.
The Americans plated their final run in the bottom of the fourth when Faulk doubled and scored on a single to right field by Shea Zaunbrecher.
League City added two more runs in the top of the fifth inning and held Crowley scoreless in the bottom of the frame to end the game courtesy of the mercy rule.
Jacob Vasquez picked up the victory for League City, giving up two runs on four hits and one walk. He struck out seven in five innings of work.
“You know, their pitcher had a little velocity, but I thought we would be able to get after him,” said Robichaux. “He reminded me of the Chiasson kid from Jennings.
“We just came out shell shocked from the beginning of the tournament and never really got going. We didn’t really play up to our potential.”
Ancelet, Ashby, Faulk and Zaunbrecher each had one hit on the night for Crowley.
Ancelet suffered the loss, giving up six runs on eight hits and two walks in 1 2/3 innings. He struck out two.
In the first game of the tournament, the Americans were handcuffed by Laredo’s Edvardo Gonzalez. The hard-throwing southpaw pitched just three innings but struck out the first seven batters he faced.
“The kid from Laredo was really good,” said Robichaux. “He’s the best pitcher at this age that I have seen in a while.”
Gonzalez gave up one hit, a single to Zaunbrecher in the third inning, and walked one but got out of the frame with a strikeout and a groundout.
Crowley, however, struggled on the mound. Faulk got the start but gave up four runs in the first inning on two hits, one error and four walks. He struck out one before being lifted for Pate Broussard in the second frame.
Crowley gave up one run in the second inning and four more in the third.
The Americans had one runner reach base in the fourth inning when Caleb Istre walked, but he was left stranded at first base. Then, in the fifth, Hunter Miller got a leadoff single and Zaunbrecher walked before the first out was made. Both runners moved up on a ground out but they were left stranded at second and third base following a strikeout.
Laredo, which banged out 13 hits in the victory, plated its final two runs in the bottom of the fourth inning.
Laredo won the South Zone Tournament last year and was eliminated in the Pony World Series in the semifinal round. The team returned all but one player from that team this year.
Despite the early exit from the tournament, Robichaux was proud of what his team had accomplished this year.
“You know, it’s unfortunate that we couldn’t get a win up here but these kids have to forget about what was on the scoreboard,” said Robichaux. “They have done a lot of good things this season. You know, losing to Jennings twice in pre-All-Star tournaments and then coming back and beating them in the regional.... They can’t hang their heads because it took a lot to just get here. And seven of these guys are first year players so I think they have a good chance to get back here next year.”