MOUNT CARMEL — As he raised his maroon-colored Mount Carmel All-Star shirt, only two words came to all-star Zeke Swanson’s mind, “That’s awesome.”
The Mount Carmel 12U Little League all-star team received their shirts and hats Thursday in preparation of the District 1 tournament, which starts Saturday in Salem.
“This is the major leagues of the major leagues,” said Mount Carmel coach Damon Banks. “They all started at T-ball, then they went to the coach pitch and then they went to the minor leagues. Now they’re here in the major leagues.”
The District 1 tournament is a five-team, double elimination tournament. Mount Carmel gets things started Saturday at 6 o’clock against Lawrenceville. Following that game will be Olney against Robinson at 8 PM.
Olney won the tournament last year played in Mount Carmel. Olney has won six of the past seven District tournaments with Mount Carmel last winning back in 2006, which is the same year many of the players for the 2018 team were born.
The Game 1 winner will have a day off before returning Monday to face the winner of Game 2 and Salem, who will play Sunday at 8 PM. The first game on Sunday will be between the losing team in Game 1 against the losing team of Game 2.
“Wes [Clemens, one of three assistant coaches helping Banks] gave them a pep talk a few minutes [after practice on Thursday], and we told them, ‘this is what you guys have been playing for since you got started at T-ball,’” said Banks. “‘You work your way around. This is it.”
The roster for Mount Carmel has 14 players, with 13 available for playing time.
“We feel pretty good about this team,” said Banks. “We have a pretty good team. We nearly won the 11-year olds last year and missed it by one game against Olney.
“We’ve worked with them over the years, and we have some good coaches.”
Banks says pitching and hitting will be a strength for the team as well as depth and several positions.
“We’re quick,” said Banks. “I bet we’ve got five or six speedsters and we’ll have three of those in the outfield, so we’ll have a quick outfield. We’ll have a good infield and some good bats. We’ve got some guys that can hit some home runs.”
Levi Banks will start out on the hill for Mount Carmel Saturday as the team’s No. 1 pitcher.
Drew Gillhan was going to be our second, but his arm has been hurting,” said Banks. “Since his arm is hurting we’re going to go with somebody else, which is Asher Kight.”
Dakota Mount and Preston Will will round out Mount Carmel’s core throwers for the District 1 tournament.
In the outfield, Kight will be in center field, Brodie Eads in left and either Zeke Swanson or Will in right field.
“We’ll be switching in and out positions with our outfielders too,” said Banks.
Three players will be available to catch for Mount Carmel but Banks says Will will get the start at catcher. Also available behind the dish will be Swanson and Kight.
“You’ve got to have a good battery,” said Bond referring to the pitcher and catcher combination. “We’re pretty deep at every position, and our infield is pretty solid.”
Mounts will start Saturday at third, while Gillhan (shortstop), Jaxon Browning (second) and Jesse Hinderliter (first) will complete the defensive infield for Game 1.”
Banks says it’s all about leaving everything out on the field and holding nothing back.
“We’re going to get out, we’re going to jump out, and we’re going to run, run, run,” said Banks. “We’re going to beat them up on the passed balls and work that way and be aggressive. We’re going to put it all on the line, and it’s up to the boys to do that.”
Helping coach the 12U team alongside Banks is Wes Clemens, Brandon Kight, and Tyler Browning.
“They’re very good teammates,” said Banks. “They pick each other up. Even when they played against each other in league ball, they held each other up. They’re good sportsman and give it their all on and off the field.”
Contact Register Sports Editor Paul Wilcoxen at (618) 263-1004 ext 1025, firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter @mcrprepsports
Little League baseball
2018 12U Mount Carmel
21. Jaxon Browning
9. Dakota Mount
34. Jesse Hinderliter
12. Zeke Swanson
15. Quaid Kanipe
16. Shade Loudermilk
3. Satchel Taylor
5. Drew Gillhan
12. Wyatt Alka
17. Preston Will
1. Levi Banks
44. Grayson Tinsley
2. Asher Kight
11. Brodie Eads
Coaches: Damon Banks, Wes Clemens, Brandon Kight, Tyler Browning.