The Lufkin Little League All-Stars face what is likely their biggest test of the year in a Greenville, NC, team which has yet to allow a hit in the World Series.
Three North Carolina pitchers combined for a perfect game Friday night in a 6-0 win over the Midwest Regional Champions from South Dakota. It only took two pitchers to toss a combined no-hitter in a 16-0 win over the West Regional Champions from California.
Manager Brian Fields uses the same strategy for most of all-star play, according to Pitt County Post writer Mike Grizzard. He uses the pitchers for up to 35 pitches each, which allows him to bring them back to the mound after just one day of rest.
"They do it the right way," said California Manager CJ Ankrum. "They go 35, 35, 35 and understand as long as they're in the winners bracket they'll never have anyone burnt."
"We've kind of always run these three pitchers," Fields said. "As you know in little league, pitch count, you always strategize behind that. Chase [Anderson] started the majority of the games. Matthew Matthijs can come in early or late. This type of tournament sets us up really well through our pitching."
Carson Hardee is the third pitcher Fields utilizes.
Grizzard said Matthijs is the team's best hitter and pitcher. He hit 17 home runs in league play but has yet to hit the long ball in regional or LLWS play.
Lufkin Manager Bud Maddux will send his ace, Hunter Ditsworth.
"There’s no problem with his arm," Maddux said. "It has been 6 days since he pitched."
Maddux and Fields employ similar strategies when it comes to preparing for their opponents.
”We just got to go out there and keep doing our routine," Maddux said.
”I don’t really look at the opponents," Fields said. "Since we walked in we haven’t changed what we have done since we started the district tournament. We are playing ourselves. We played the southeast today."
While they don't plan against their opponents, each coach expressed a respect in their Wednesday adversaries.
"That Texas team, from what I know they are really good so we are going to have to get back to work," Fields said.
"I'm scared of what they are doing," Maddux said.
The game starts at 6:30 p.m. CDT and will be broadcast on ESPN.
Copyright 2017 KTRE. All rights reserved.