By Jeff Keeling
They had rolled through the regular season in JC American Little League 18-1 and won two playoff games, and the Lightning closed out a dominant season Saturday by winning the City Tournament at the JC National field in Keystone.
After a 16-5 semifinal win shortened to four innings, the team rode a fine pitching performance by Cade Pollock and made the most of just four hits in a 10-2 victory over 2014 city champions the Braves, a JC Major team, in the final. That win came just after the semifinal victory over Spa Glow of JC National.
B.J. Edwards scattered eight hits in the semifinal win, and coach Jim Pollock said the offensive production was led by Pollock (3 for 3), Jaxon Diamond and Edwards, who were each 2 for 3, and Colin Blevins, who hit a monster home run to straight center field.
The nightcap was more of a pitcher’s duel. Hard-throwing Braves lefty Dustin Stanton held the Lightning mostly in check through three innings. The score was 2-0 at that point, and Stanton had been left stranded at third after a no-out triple. But Stanton reached his pitch limit with a bases-loaded walk in the fourth that made it 3-0, and Cade Backus, who inherited the difficult situation, gave up two more runs on wild pitches and another score.
The 6-0 lead would hold up, as Pollock breezed through five innings using just 69 pitches and allowing just two hits. The Lightning extended their lead to 10-0 in the top of the sixth. Pollock ran into a bit of trouble in the bottom of the sixth, giving up two runs and reaching his pitch limit, but Jaxon Diamond came on to retire the final two batters and set off the celebration.