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MIDLAND, Mich. (WJMN) – The Negaunee Juniors 14U Little League All-Stars are one of eight teams participating in the Central Regional Tournament being held downstate in Midland.

Negaunee opened up tournament play on Wednesday afternoon, taking on Richmond, Kentucky.

Despite the big stage, Negaunee proved early that they belong. Brayden Gleason got Negaunee on the board in the first inning with an RBI single.

Negaunee continued to get runners on base but were not able to capitalize. Trailing 2-1, things began to shift in the fifth inning thanks to a well-earned RBI by Peyton Black to tie the game up at 2.

“You get down in those situations, when you have two strikes and you’re in your own head,” said Black. “You just have to stay calm, stay cool. Just got to realize, next pitch has to come. You can’t get down before that.”

Vince Tincknell followed that up with a big two-run double to keep the momentum in Negaunee’s favor.

“It felt insane,” said Tincknell. “I’ve been in a slump for a while now, haven’t hit the ball, and when I got that hit and saw it soaring through the air, best feeling I’ve had in a while.”

“It’s funny, he’s been hitting like that all season during this league, and then when he got to this tournament, he slumped a little bit,” said head coach Terry Tincknell. “But it happens to kids, and I keep telling him ‘it just takes one hit and you’re back on track’, and that’s what’s happening.”

The game was broken open shortly afterwards, thanks to a three-run home run courtesy of Evan Dellangelo.

“So I was just sitting in the box, you know, waiting for that pitch,” said Dellangelo. “He gave me pitch right down the middle. No way he gave me a pitch right down the middle, you know I had to send that way out of the place. Boom.”

“Evan’s just gotta sit back, use his athletic ability, he just can’t get ahead of the ball,” said Coach Tincknell. “He just turns on a ball and it just flies. And look what happened, was it a three run shot? He’s outstanding, he’s one the best players in the state of Michigan.”

Negaunee would score seven runs in the fifth inning, ultimately topping Kentucky 9-2 to keep their magical run alive. Coach Tincknell said this run has been fueled by a complete team effort.

“Every bat counts, every kid, no matter if they get on with a base hit, a walk, a bean, you just got to get on.”

Negaunee now moves into the winner’s bracket and will play the winner of Thursday’s game between Carroll County, Missouri and Shepherd, Michigan. That game is set to be played Friday morning at 11:30amET.