Grosse Pointe Woods Shores wins Little League Majors title in Ishpeming

ISHPEMING – At 6-2, 200 pounds, Chad Lorkowski towers over most of his Grosse Pointe Woods Shores Little League baseball teammates.

The 12-year-old pitcher was also an imposing figure against Bay City Northwest on Wednesday in the championship game of the state Major Division (11-12) tournament in Ishpeming.

Lorkowski allowed one hit and struck out 11 in six innings of work to lead GP Woods Shores to a 1-0 victory.

“I just tried to hit my spots,” he said after his team advanced to Central Region tournament action beginning Aug. 2 in Indianapolis. “I didn’t throw one curve ball – only fast balls.”

Lorkowski struck out the side in the first and sixth innings, throwing just 74 total pitches overall.

“I wasn’t nervous,” he said. “I thought I might throw harder, but I didn’t want my arm to get sore later on.”

Bay City Northwest had just one scoring chance in the game. In the fifth inning, Nick Dardas hit a single to left and Austin Lawless bunted him to second for the second out of the inning.

Lorkowski then got a groundout to first to end the threat.

“That was a spectacular performance,” GP Woods Shores manager Tom Mazzola said of his hurler. “This was the first time (in the tourney) we pitched him more than 20 pitches (in a game).”

Said Bay City NW manager Mike Shore: “(Lorkowski’s) a big kid, a monster. He threw well and (his pitches were) hard to pick up.”

The only run Lorkowski needed came from teammate Joey Rheaume, who hit a solo home run to right field in the second inning.

“I was looking for a first pitch fastball,” Rheaume said on his second round tripper of the tourney. “It was down the middle and I just swung.

“I didn’t know right away if it would be a homer. It feels good.”

Mazzola said he put Rheaume into Tuesday’s semifinal game as a sub so the latter could get some practice in against fast ball pitching.

“He’s a great fast ball hitter and I told Joey to jump on the pitch,” he said. “He pulled his hands in and drove the ball … over the fence.”

The only other GP Woods Shores hit off losing pitcher Dardas was a single by Tyler Hill in the third inning. Dardas fanned five and threw 70 pitches in five innings.

“The home run (he allowed) was not a bad pitch,” Shore said. “It’s right where we wanted it, but (Rheaume) just hit it.

“It’s a tough day, but the kids played well. It came down to a pitcher’s duel and I knew whoever hit the ball would come out on top.”

He added many of his players lost in the 10-year-old state championship game two years ago to Grosse Pointe Park.

“They’re all great players,” Shore said of his team. “It’s a tough day … but we’ll regroup and be fine.”

Craig Remsburg can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 251.