OWENSBORO – The powerful offense the Bowling Green East 10- and 11-year-old All-Stars relied on throughout the tournament wasn’t there when it needed it most.

BG East rallied in the sixth inning but couldn’t cap off the comeback and fell 5-3 to Owensboro Southern in the District 1 Tournament championship game Thursday.

The all-stars who averaged 16 runs through five games in the tournament were held to three runs on 10 hits with nine runners left on base.

BG East trailed by one run most of the game until Owensboro Southern added two in the top of the sixth inning to make it 5-2. BG East brought in one run and left the bases loaded to end its postseason run.

“We just did the best we can,” starting pitcher Jackson Lee said. “This is really good competition we faced today and we gave it to them. We gave them a run for their money.”

Owensboro Southern won the championship by hanging three runs in the first inning and holding the lead throughout the night. The host team was shellacked by BG East 15-5 to open the tournament in pool play July 5 and didn’t lose for the remainder of the event.

For BG East, those five runs allowed in the first meeting with Owensboro Southern were the only runs allowed before seeing them again in the final. BG East outscored opponents 66-0 in its other four games.

That 5-1 postseason mark saw the 10- and 11-year-olds total 90 hits with a team .508 batting average.

“We ran into a very tough team,” manager Anthony Gilbert said. “They pitched very well and we had the hits to win today, they were just a little scattered. Typically when we score a lot we get our hits in bunches and we had the hits, they were just scattered.”

Lee was solid for BG East despite allowing a leadoff home run to set up the three-run first inning. He lasted 4 1/3 innings until reaching the 85-pitch count limit with six strikeouts and four hits allowed.

“Tremendous bounceback,” Gilbert said. “That was a tough spot and to pitch as well as he did on the backside was a tremendous job and a testament to how every one of these kids fought.”

Griff Veazey came in for relief and was one out away from escaping the sixth, but two walks and a hit loaded the bases and allowed Owensboro Southern to tack on two more runs to give BG East more work to do in the bottom of the frame.

Landon Gilbert drove in a run with the bases loaded to make it 5-3, but Owensboro Southern got a strikeout to end the game.

Lee said he felt good about the BG East rally in the sixth.

“We all just thought we wanted to go to state again this year,” Lee said. “We had to put the ball in play, we had to score and we could tell they weren’t going to give it to us easy. They’re not going to throw it on the pipe. We played as good as we could that inning.”

Lincoln Fowler led BG East with two hits and a pair of RBIs. Eight other all-stars had one hit.

“Every one of them are fighters and all of them go about it the right way,” Gilbert said. “It was an absolute honor to coach them this year. A fun bunch to watch this year, tremendous amount of support from the parents and a great group to work with this year.”{&end}

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Covering high school sports and Western Kentucky women's basketball for the Bowling Green Daily News.

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