ROCKFORD — The first game of the Little League Junior division All-Star tournament had fans from both Rockford and Greenville cheering loudly.
The Rockford fans got the last cheer, as the Rockford All-Stars beat Greenville 12-11.
The game started out with Rockford taking a 4-2 lead after two innings. Rockford (6-6-3) scored three times in the second inning for that lead.
“I wanted them (Greenville) to keep playing because I don’t want them to get their heads down,” coach Andy Christensen said. “Sometimes when teams get up early we give up. But I knew we could hit. Everybody could produce runs so I wanted them to keep the bats hot and it worked.”
It worked really well in the bottom of the fourth inning. Trailing 7-3, Greenville scored six times.
“Everyone was seeing the ball good,” Christensen said. “We had a few passes on errors, but everybody was seeing the ball good. We found the gaps. We had a guy who stole home, which was awesome. We have really good baserunners. That worked to our benefit.”
But Rockford came back with five runs in the top of the fifth inning for a 12-9 lead.
“We just can’t make errors,” Christensen said. “We had a lot of errors. If you give some wild pitches and passed balls, in my opinion we beat ourselves. If we don’t make those errors we would have took it home for sure.”
Greenville almost came back. They scored one in the bottom of the fifth and another in the bottom of the sixth. They had the tying run on third with two out, but a popout ended the game.
Greenville also got some help when a Rockford player was thrown out at the plate in the top of the sixth inning for the third out.
Greenville was led by Branden Parris, who was 3-for-5 with an RBI, and Brandon Little, who was 3-for-4. Jon Rittersdorf was 2-for-2 with a bases-clearing double in the six-run fourth.
Brian Capps was 3-for-3 with an RBI for Rockford. Teammate Joey Mehall added two hits and an RBI.
Next up for Greenville is a game in Byron Center Wednesday. They will play the loser of Monday’s game between Allendale and Southern West.