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WCLL sails by Dubuque, goes 2-2 at state

Crouch ignites offensive surge with inside-the-park HR, drives in 4

July 26, 2012
By Troy Banning - Sports Editor ( , The Daily Freeman Journal

WEBSTER CITY - First he was called out. Then, after a short discussion between umpires, he was called safe.

And just like that, Tanner Crouch's triple that garnered mild applause turned into a home run that brought the fans to their feet.

It was just one of many things the Webster City Little League All-Stars were able to celebrate on another scoring evening yesterday at Lynx Field.

Article Photos

DFJ photo by Troy Banning
WCLL third baseman Tanner Crouch stays in front of a high-hopper as local umpire Alex Davis looks on in the background yesterday at Lynx Field. Crouch was named the game’s MVP after ripping an inside-the-park home run and driving in four runs in his team’s 13-6 victory over Dubuque.

Coming off back-to-back losses to Urbandale and Indianola that pushed it out of the championship game discussion, WCLL finished off a solid week by smacking 14 hits in a 13-6 rout of Dubuque at the Junior Division State Little League Tournament.

The host team finished 2-2 and placed third.

"This was a great one to end on because, for a lot of these guys, this was their last (Little League) game," WCLL coach Chad Vogelbacher said. "We came though with a great effort."

Fact Box

Webster City403 400 2-13 14 2

Dubuque202 110 0- 6 6 4

Avery Fuhs, Sean Vogelbacher (5), Jordan Moen (7) and Drew Fielder. Caleb Blair, Connor Duax (4) and Bella Berthel, Brandon Mitchell (7). W-Av. Fuhs. L-Blair. 2B-WC: Alec Fuhs, Drew Fielder; DUB: Mitchell. HR-WC: Tanner Crouch. RBI-WC: Crouch (4), Al. Fuhs (2), Fielder, Cory Keenan, Ty Schnathorst, Riley Mishler; DUB: Mitchell (2), Berthel.

Crouch's first-inning dinger that got over the head of Dubuque center fielder Nate Tramel and rolled all the way to the fence was part of a four-run frame that put WCLL in front to stay. Crouch drove in three on the bomb, and he was called safe at the plate after colliding with catcher Bella Berthel.

Crouch - named the game's Most Valuable Player - also laced an RBI single in the third that helped WCLL extend its lead to 7-2.

"We needed to get off to a fast start (yesterday) because, after those two losses we just went through, the kids needed something to lift their spirits," Vogelbacher said. "We hit the ball really well again. The kids worked hard in the last couple of weeks on their hitting and that really paid off this tournament."

Alec Fuhs went 3-for-5 out of the No. 3 hole in the lineup, while twin brother Avery and clean-up stick Drew Fielder both finished 2-for-5. Alec Fuhs and Fielder bashed back-to-back RBI doubles in the fourth to push the margin to 11-4. Riley Mishler also delivered an RBI base hit later in the frame.

WCLL put two more insurance runs on the board in the seventh on RBI singles by Cory Keenan and Alec Fuhs.

Sean Vogelbacher, Landon Daniels and Jordan Moen added base knocks. WCLL also stole nine bases in the contest.

Avery Fuhs secured the win on the bump after going 4 1/3 innings. The right-hander allowed five hits and four earned runs while striking out three. Sean Vogelbacher and Moen worked in relief to extinguish Dubuque.

Dubuque (1-3) left 13 runners stranded on the bases. WCLL's pitchers walked 11 and hit two others, yet limited Dubuque to just six hits. Brandon Mitchell roped its only extra-base hit - a two-run double in the first inning.

Trailing 11-6 in the sixth, Dubuque had a golden opportunity to apply the pressure, as it loaded the bases with two outs with lead-off hitter Caleb Blair standing at the plate. But Mitchell broke for home on a Vogelbacher wild pitch, and Fielder - he worked the entire game behind the plate for WCLL - was able to get to the ball and flip it to Vogelbacher to retire a sliding Mitchell at the plate.

Dubuque never threatened against Moen in the seventh.

Urbandale and Indianola will meet in the state championship game this evening at 6 p.m. The winner will advance to the regional tournament in Fort Wayne, Ind., Aug. 3-9.

Urbandale, the only unbeaten team during pool play, beat Indianola 10-0 on Saturday.



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