Chris Brooks/For the Times Lafayette 11-12-year-old all-star Chase Keene follows through on his swing during the second inning of last Tuesday’s loss to Smith County.

Chris Brooks/For the Times

Lafayette 11-12-year-old all-star Chase Keene follows through on his swing during the second inning of last Tuesday’s loss to Smith County.

WESTMORELAND -- The Lafayette Little League 11-12-year-old all-star squad hoped to create some more fireworks on July 3.

Instead, the squad was ambushed by a seven-run first inning from Smith County and never recovered, suffering a 15-0, four-inning loss to end its postseason run in the losers' bracket final of the District 2 Tournament at the Westmoreland Little League baseball complex.

"(Smith County) had their (top two pitchers) ready to go, and they just really connected with the ball," Lafayette head coach Matt Polston said. "Every ball they hit was hard and in the gap. That's just tough to defend."

The two teams faced off in their tournament opener, with Smith County claiming a 4-1 victory. Smith County suffered a 5-4 loss to Gallatin to fall into the loser's bracket, while Lafayette advanced to face Smith County again with a 6-4 win over Westmoreland.

Lafayette managed four base hits in the rematch, two each by John Marsh and Jacob Hunt. The duo led off the second and fourth innings with back-to-back singles, giving Lafayette an opportunity to get on the scoreboard each time.

However, Smith County's defense proved to be unyielding, escaping bases-loaded jams each time to preserve the shutout. The second time ended the game due to the 10-run, mercy rule after four innings of play.

"It would have been nice to break that egg," Polston said. "Sometimes, that's kind of like a snowball effect as well. If you can score once, you can get a few more, but we never could get across the dish."

Smith County scored six runs in the first inning before making two outs against Lafayette starting pitcher Hunter Patterson, who pitched into the third inning before reaching his pitch limit.

"These kids are great kids, top to bottom, as good as you could ask for," Polston said. "We were probably running on a bit of fumes tonight, and we knew that. We were going against a pretty big opponent, and you've got to have your A-game playing a team like that ... and we didn't have it. And it showed early, and it's kind of a snowball effect when it all starts going bad."

Lafayette's Parker Maddox finished the game in relief, allowing three runs over the final 11/3 innings.

"You've got to be real deep with pitching in order to be successful in this tournament," Polston said. "We felt like we had a good shot with that, but it just ran its course."

Landon Warner and Hayden Dean each reached base after being hit by a pitch, while Landon Connor reached first base thanks to a catcher's interference call in the fourth inning.

Despite the ending, Polston remained optimistic about the growth and development of the players in the league.

"I think this age group of kids, and the 9-10s as well, they've had a little bit of tournament success," Polston said. "There's some good kids in there right now, and there's some young ones that can be as well. There's some players there that'll get it done if they keep working hard."