Smith homers as VSLL tops Iowa at Junior League World Series

Local team one win away from reaching U.S. title game


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Cole Smith had three hits, including a three-run homer, to help lead the Viera-Suntree Little League All-Stars past Iowa 7-1 Monday at the Junior League Baseball World Series in Taylor, Michigan.

VIERA VOICE Carl Kotala

Cole Smith has made a habit of getting on base all summer long.

But in Monday’s second-round game at the Junior League Baseball World Series in Taylor, Michigan, the Viera-Suntree second baseman did more than just cause trouble on the bases.

He cleared them, too.

Smith had three hits, including a double and three-run homer as the VSLL defeated the Central Region champ (Johnston, Iowa) 7-1 at Heritage Park.

Now, 2-0 in the tournament, the VSLL will play Wednesday night at 8 p.m. against the winner of the California-Oklahoma game. Should Florida win that game, it would advance to the United States final on Friday at 6 p.m.

Although he went 0-for-2 in Sunday’s opening win against Maryland, Smith still managed to get on base and score three runs. He scored three times again on Monday and now has an OPS of 1.556 through two World Series games.

He wasn’t the only one who is swinging a hot bat for the VSLL, either.

For the second day in a row, Lucas Glendinning got things rolling with a two-run single in the top of the first inning. He finished the game with two hits and is batting .500 with five RBIs.

Logan Keith had a hit Monday and is now batting .571 for the series.

Luc Iten had a hit and an RBI. And for the second straight day, Blake Strode came up in a pinch-hitting situation and delivered a clean single.

Apollos Horrell doubled and scored a run for the VSLL and is now batting .667 with three doubles and two RBIs. He also got the start on the mound for the second day in a row and got the win, throwing 1 2/3 innings while allowing two hits, one unearned run and striking out two.

Once again, Dylan Jordan relieved Horrell and turned in a strong performance. The right-hander went 3 1/3 innings, striking out three. He also drove in a run and scored a run.

Cameron Simpkins threw the final two scoreless innings, striking out two.

Iowa certainly had its chances to keep the game close, loading the bases with one out in the bottom of the first inning and again with two outs in the second. Horrell and Jordan were able to work out of the jams with only one run scoring, and that came on a fielding error.

Overall, Iowa stranded 11 runners on base.

The VSLL, meanwhile, has now outscored its opponents 22-3 in the first two games of the World Series and the top three of its lineup – Smith, Horrell and Glendinning – are hitting a combined .524 with 11 runs scored, 10 RBIs, four doubles and a home run.