HAMMOND | Teams at the Cal Ripken Major/60 World Series have the option of an "extra hitter" in the lineup, meaning a 10-man order rather than the standard nine.
South Lexington, Ken. selected the former, yet the team was still able to pound through the entire lineup and then some throughout the first three innings during its 17-4 pool-play victory over El Dorado, Ark. Saturday.
In four innings, SL rapped 15 hits including three home runs. Two came from leadoff hitter Jared Gadd, including one starting the game.
Brendan Hord also homered in the first inning for South Lexington.
The day before in another shortened game against Quincy, Mass., SL slugged three homers with Gavin Hall, Cameron Baughman and Blake Pulliam all going yard.
"We have a lot of hitters," said SL manager Carl Peel. "We've been hitting a lot of home runs this summer."
The 65-year-old Peel cuts a distinctive figure with his full Santa Claus beard. He has been coaching for 43 years, and was inducted into the Eastern Kentucky Babe Ruth Hall of Fame this year.
South Lexington has had a history of youth baseball success. The program has three Cal Ripken Major/60 World Series titles (1992, 2001 and 2007), was runner-up in 2011, took third in 2008 and was a World Series qualifier in 2009.
The program also has a team playing in the Cal Ripken 10U World Series in Ocala, Calif.
Though South Lexington has been overwhelmingly dominant thus far, Peel anticipates challenges to come, especially when it faces Crown Point in the final round of pool play on Tuesday.
"We split last year with them (as 11-year-olds) in the Ohio Valley Regional," Peel said. "We have a pretty good rivalry."
Bobcats earn their wings: For the Bobcats of Opp, Ala., the Cal Ripken World Series began Friday with a 7-1 loss to the Kingsbridge Knights from the Bronx, N.Y.
"I guess we got a little intimidated by the bright lights and the big city," Opp manager Robbie Ross said.
Not many would call Hammond "the big city," but for the kids of Opp, most towns would fit the description.
Opp's population? 6,600.
For 11 of the 12 team members, the flight here through O'Hare was their first time on an airplane. And a tour of Wrigley Field is planned for Monday morning.
"We are excited to be here and excited by the hospitality we've been shown here," Ross said. "The trip to Wrigley is something they are going to remember the rest of their lives. "
Armed Forces Night on Monday: The Cal Ripken World Series will hold Armed Forces Night on Monday. All current service members and military veterans and their families will be admitted free into the HOYS Complex.
Before the 5:30 p.m. game featuring the Crown Point Bulldogs and the Hawaii Saints, all service members and veterans in attendance will be asked to line up on Field 5 to be recognized.
Today is Mascot Day at the WS. Local sport mascots will be in attendance. Kids ages 5-12 will be admitted for half price. Ages 4 and under always get in free.