For 11 of the 13 kids on Palm Coast's roster, it was their first time playing on an all-star team.
All Jordan Petty needed was a hit. His teammate, 9-year-old speedster Noah Lassiter, who had previously stolen two bases, stood on third base. The Palm Coast All-Stars, who were behind for much of the night, needed a single run to clinch the opening game in the Little League All-Star tournament.
Petty stared down Northwestern Volusia’s pitcher on a 2-2 count with two outs in the bottom of the sixth inning.
On his next swing, Petty drilled a ball through the gap between first and second. Lassiter bolted from third and slid across home plate for the score — and the win. Lassiter arose from the cloud of dust with a wide smile on his face.
After falling behind 6-0 through two frames, Palm Coast defeated Northwestern Volusia 14-13 in the 8-10 division on the night of Monday, June 18, at the Chipper Jones Family Sports Complex in Pierson.
For 11 of the 13 kids on the roster, including Lassiter, it was their first time playing on an all-star team.
“I think there were a lot of nerves at first,” Palm Coast coach Ryan Hart said. “But once they got that first run in, things turned a little bit. You know, we had some mistakes here and there, but the kids never gave up. We started getting some at-bats together and started throwing a lot of strikes.”
After falling behind in the first two innings, Palm Coast stormed back to score four runs in the third inning. Palm Coast took its first lead of the game following five runs in the fifth, including a 2 RBI triple from Petty.
Hart told his team to stay positive throughout the game despite the early setbacks.
“That’s what we were looking for,” he said. “No one put their head down. No one got down on themselves. We kept going, and we got the result we wanted.”