Game 22: New England 12 vs. Great Lakes 3

Batchelor Party

Author: Gabe Hiatt

Source: South Williamsport, Pa.

Date/Time: Tuesday, August 25, 2009, 4:00pm ET

LAustin Batchelor’s Little League lifetime faded with the sun early Tuesday evening. He laid it to rest squarely in the center slope of the hill behind Howard J. Lamade Stadium. What a way to walk out of the Little League World Series.

“It was my last Little League career at bat, and I hit a home run in Lamade Stadium,” Batchelor said. “It was just awesome.”

Neither Batchelor’s Peabody (Ma.) Western Little League team nor Logan County Russellville (Ky.) Little League had a shot at reaching the tournament semifinals. His team eventually won 12-3, taking a commanding 10-3 lead by the time Batchelor approached the plate in the bottom of the fifth inning and blasted a towering shot over the centerfield fence.

“We knew this game either way wouldn’t matter as much as the other ones so we weren’t too nervous,” he said. “We were just having fun this time.”

Batchelor rounded the bases of his new favorite venue to the echoes of applauding strangers peppering the hill with lawn chairs and beach towels

“It’s awesome to see the whole hill build up,” he said. “All these fans come to your games and they don’t even know you. It’s like a major league stadium,”.”

The high point in Peabody’s final game in Williamsport came in the third inning, when it squeezed more fun, and more runs, out of the inning than it had in their two previous games, two blowout losses.

Peabody put up nine runs in the third inning of Tuesday’s contest, eight more than they scored in either of their two defeats to San Antonio, Texas and Chula Vista, Calif.

“We finally hit the ball and got a win,” said David Batchelor, Austin’s father and the team’s manager. “The ride home will be better. Maybe the next month or so will be better.”

Batchelor, Matt Hosman, and Anthony Cravotta each put up two-run extra-base hits in the third as Peabody sent 13 batters to the plate.

Besides going 3-for-3 at the plate, Batchelor tossed five innings and piled up seven strikeouts without allowing an earned run. But he did start a little shaky in the first inning when he allowed an Ian Woodall RBI double that scored Barrett Croslin, who originally reached base on an error by the shortstop.

“I wasn’t throwing real hard like usual, and then we had to focus in on this,” he said. “As it went on I just got better.”

Looking to match Batchelor’s last at-bat, Cravotta swatted a two-out RBI double in his final Little League at-bat. Righthander Michael Petrosino closed out his Little League career with three strikeouts in the sixth.

When August rolls around in the years to come, the Peabody boys will watch a pixel-constructed Howard J. Lamade Stadium on TV. The youngest Batchelor might look for his spot in the center of the hill, and he’ll smile and remember his final swat.