It was a tough day for Kentucky’s boys of summer on Little League’s grandest stage.
Bowling Green East fell 6-1 to Rhode Island in an elimination game of the Little League World Series and Ashland’s Cash Compliment bowed out in the first round of the first-ever Little League Home Run Derby.
Nevertheless, the Bowling Green team and Compliment represented their cities – and Kentucky – in great fashion by making it this far.
Rhode Island, the New England champion, improved to 11-0 in elimination games this summer. They lost their first game of district play but stayed alive in the Little League World Series behind two-hit pitching.
Bowling Green East’s team, which won the Great Lakes for the third time since 2015, could never gets its offensive engine going. Bowling Green fell 2-1 to Minnesota, scratching across only one hit.
Lucas Tanous went 3-for-4 and drove in three runs for Rhode Island, which stays alive in the tournament. The New England champions are 11-0 in elimination games.
Before the game started the Rhode Island players went over and touched the jersey of Mason Goodnight, a former member of the Bowling Green team who died at 10 years old. The players have chosen to bring his jersey with them in his honor.
"I mean, we're so fortunate to be here," Tanous said. "We went over to his jersey. I prayed and I gave his dad a handshake. It's just so sad. We all touched his jersey. I bet he was such a nice kid. we are so fortunate to be here."
Jef Goodnight, who is Mason's father, was also a coach for Kentucky. Here is what he told the players after the game:
"Walk off proud," he told the players. "I'm proud of every one of you. This is the right place for this journey to end. I love you. You guys have faced more adversity and overcome more obstacles than most 11- and 12-year-olds have."
Compliment, who belted 31 home runs in three rounds of derby play in Atlanta, hit five dingers in the first round but it wasn’t enough to advance him further.
“I couldn’t be more proud of this kid,” his father, Mike Compliment said in a Facebook post. “His ride came to an end in the first round of the T-Mobile Home Run Derby but top eight in the nation is not too shabby! Congratulations son, I hope you take from this that anything is possible if you work! Love ya kid!”