Postseason baseball wrapped up last weekend for the Martinez-Evans Little League All-Stars in the District 6 Tournament held at Kelley Park in Martinez.
Martinez-Evans Little League sent two teams to the tournament. After a four-game pool-play schedule, both the league's American League and National League All-Star teams reached the District 6 Semifinals.
The National League team fell to Elbert County in the semifinals, but the American League team, led by first-year All-Star coach Paul Herzwurm, reached the District 6 championship game.
"It's a great time," Herzwurm said. "These are good kids, and they worked hard. I was proud of them."
After sweeping through pool play, Herzwurm's team knocked off Athens 5-4 in the tournament's semifinal round on Saturday. Pitcher Andrew Smith got the win in relief while Hunter McBride's home run in the sixth inning proved to be the game winner that sent the Martinez-Evans American League All-Stars to the championship game.
In the finals, the American League All-Star team met Elbert County - the squad that knocked out the Martinez-Evans National League All-Stars in the semifinals.
Elbert County took an early 1-0 lead with a run in the top of the first, but Martinez-Evans quickly answered when Thomas Banks hit a solo home run to tie the game in the bottom of the second inning.
The home team took the lead an inning later on an RBI ground ball off the bat of Smith, but Elbert County reclaimed the lead with three runs in the top of the fifth inning.
The score held until the bottom of the sixth and final inning of regulation play. McBride came through again with an RBI grounder to move within one run of Elbert County.
With Martinez-Evans down to its last out, Dakota Finch and Turner Spratling reached base safely. That left the door open for 11-year-old Zach Brown, whose hard-hit grounder between first and second scored Finch to tie the game and send it into extra innings.
"Zach's one of our subs, and he came up and produced in a clutch situation," Herzwurm said. "I think that says a lot about him and what he can do."
Elbert County took over in the extra inning with four runs in the top of the seventh. Martinez-Evans couldn't match the offensive explosion, and Elbert County took the Little League District 6 Championship by a score of 8-4.
"We played a good ball game," Herzwurm said. "The boys came back in the bottom of the sixth and did a good job staying in there. (Elbert County) just hit the ball well."
Elbert County will advance to the Little League state tournament in Atlanta this week for the first time in almost 20 years.
"At the Little League level we haven't been to state since the late 1980s," Elbert County coach Bruce Evans said. "It's great for Elbert County and great for our program."
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