Emily Manifor of the McLean Little League All Stars waits on base for a chance to run.

On July 14, the sky was clear, the sun was blazing and so were the McLean bats in their winners-bracket championship game vs. the district 15 champions from Richmond County. This was a good match-up for McLean - Reese Mamajak vs. a very good hitting Richmond County team and the McLean hitters vs. the Richmond County pitcher who threw at a 50 MPH pace. The game plan was to hit the ball hard, put a lot of balls in play and pressure the Richmond County defense.

Emily Martin led off and reached on an error by the shortstop on a hard hit ground ball. Emily then got a great jump on a ball hit to shortstop by Fae Butler, slid in hard at 2nd and beat the throw. With one out, Abby Rebhan stroked a single to left field to plate the first run then and Reese Mamajek drove a ball into the left center gap to drive in another. Reese advanced to third on a wild pitch and scored on a sacrifice fly by Abby Hart. McLean was up 3 -0 after the first half inning and it was apparent the Richmond county bats were going to have to be active in order to keep pace

Mixing an effective change-up with a well located fast ball Reese struck out two Richmond county batters and the third was retired on a nifty back hand snare of a hard hit ground ball down the third baseline by Fae Butler who gunned down the runner at one. The Richmond county team appeared a bit deflated after they could not respond to the McLean flurry.

McLean stranded runners on 2nd and 3rd in the top of the 2nd after a walk to Charlotte Loving and a single by EK Templer. This gave the Richmond County team another chance to respond but Fae Butler made two more plays at third sandwiched around a pop up to second caught by Haley Richardson.

In the top of the third inning, McLean doubled their lead. Back to back doubles by Abby Rebhan and Reese Mamajak scored one run and brought out the Richmond County manager to try to settle down his pitcher. The game was starting to get away from them. Chelsea Engle brought in another run with a short fly ball to center field that was dropped. Lauren Kim then hit a ground ball to the right side to bring in the third run.

Going in to the bottom of the 3rd McLean was up 6 - 0. The Richmond County team needed a spark

Richmond County got a lead-off single to open the inning but this runner was retired on a force out at 2nd Abby Hart to Haley Richardson. Reese struck out the # 9 batter and then gave up a single to the dangerous #1 hitter putting runners on 1st and 2nd. Reese exited the jam by striking out the #2 hitter ending the inning as well as the waning hopes of the Richmond County team

McLean expanded their lead to 7 - 0 in the top of the 4th with a two out double by Abby Rebhan followed by a single by Reese Mamajek.

In the bottom of the 4th inning Reese enticed two ground outs to Fae Butler and a pop out to Abby Rebhan at 1st.

In the top of the 5th Lauren Kim drew a lead-off walk, McKenna Sullivan reached on a fielder’s choice and after a EK Templer double, scored on a sacrifice fly by Fae Butler. EK then scored on a single by Emily Manifor. McLean was up 9 - 0. The game was pretty much over at this point.

Richmond County entered their required substitutions in the bottom of the 5th and Reese struck out all three.

In the top of the 6th McLean scored 6 more runs on a single by Chelsea Engle, a triple by Kaitlyn Fado, a single by Lauren Kim, a double by McKenna Sullivan, a single by Emily Martin, a single by Emily Manifor and a single by Abby Rebhan who went five for five at the plate.

In the bottom of the 6th Abby Rebhan came in to pitch and Richmond County rallied for 2 runs.

The final score McLean 15 and Richmond County 2.

McLean then went to Richmond on July 17 and won the state championship 5-0 over District 1 Marion, who had battled back with 4 wins after the prior loss to McLean, featuring hard throwing pitchers who dominated every team but McLean. We jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the 1st and never looked back. Reese Mamajek kept Marion off balance with a great mixture of off speed and well placed fastballs and gave up only two hits striking out nine and no other vaserunners. McLean played errorless defense. Fae Butler made 4 putouts from 3rd base. McLean hits came from Fae Butler, Emily Manifor, Haley Richardson, McKenna Sullivan and Kaitlyn Fado

McLean will next head down to Warner Robbins, Georgia for the Southeast Region tourney on July 23.

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