BERLIN, July 22 – Berlin Little League baseball coach Kevin Ouellette has been in the ear of his son, Kasey throughout the post-season. He has been urging his son to swing the ball with authority and to get on top of the ball.
Kasey Ouellette came through in a big way Friday night in the Section II Major Division (ages 11-12) championship game. The Berlin second baseman drove a pitch from Avon’s Matt Lepold over the center field wall in the second inning and that was the difference in a 2-0 Berlin victory.
The win puts undefeated Berlin (11-0) into the four-team state tournament final that begins Wednesday in Manchester. “He’s had five hits in 11 games. I’ve been telling him to get on top of the ball,” Kevin Ouellette said. “Today, (Kasey) stayed back and got a hold of it.”
Avon, the District 6 champion, had four hits but couldn’t push a run across the plate. Berlin’s winning pitcher James Ellis went the distance and struck out eight. “We just couldn’t hit tonight,” Avon skipper Steve Nyberg said. “I’ve been coaching these boys for five years (at different age levels) and this is the first time we’ve never scored a run.”
Ellis, a left handed pitcher, worked out of several jams to keep Avon off the scoreboard. “He’s been our big game pitcher,” coach Kevin Ouellette said. “Today, he pitched a gem. We told him we needed it and he did it.”
A two-out single from Andrew Pedersen and a double from Tyler Nyberg gave Avon runners on second and third base in the third inning but Ellis got Leopold to pop out to Ellis to end the threat.
In the fourth inning, Avon had runners on first and third base with two outs. Emmett Bornstein led off the inning with a double down the right field line and moved to third base on a fly ball by Dylan Love. After Aidan Mahoney struck out, a walk to Luke Choi put runners on first and third. But Ellis bore down and struck out Masaya Yamada to end the inning. Ellis retired seven of the final eight batters he faced.
Leopold nearly matched Ellis. Leopold gave up just two hits and struck out five.
Berlin struck in the second inning. With two outs, Ellis singled down the left field line and Kasey Ouellette followed with a two-run blast over the center field fence for a 2-0 lead.
Berlin had the bases loaded in the third inning thanks to a walk, a hit batter and an error. But Lepold got the next two batters out to keep the game close. In the fifth, Berlin had runners on first and second base with two outs but he got out of the jam again.
Pedersen and Love each had singles for Avon while Nyberg and Bornstein each had doubles.
Berlin 2, Avon 0
Avon (8-4) 000 000 — 0-4-3
Berlin (11-0) 020 00x – 2-2-0
Matt Leopold and Emmett Bornstein; James Ellis and Jon D’Amore; WP: Ellis; LP: Lepold; 2B: Tyler Nyberg (A), Bornstein (A); 3B: none; HR: Kasey Ouellette (B)