MOUNT VERNON — The Guernsey County 12U All-Star baseball team came on top in a thriller to best Cambridge 5-4 Friday night at Phillips Park.
A pivotal third inning aided Guernsey to their District 5 Little League tournament victory, being the only inning in which they scored multiple runs. In the top of the inning Nick Norman took a hack at a ball for Guernsey that whistled through the infield, deep into left field. Norman turned his shot into a triple and later scored when teammate Kade Winnett distracted the Cambridge defense stealing second base, giving Norman enough time to steal home. Winnett would later score on a hard hit ball from Justice Huey. This inning gave Guernsey County a lead that they never lost the remainder of the game.
“Tonight we had to earn it,” said Guernsey County coach Karl Hoop. “The guys hung tough, they didn’t put their heads down, we made the plays when we needed to and we got a good 5-4 win.”
After a quiet first inning of the two teams getting a feel for one another, the second inning was where the thrills began. Tyeson Mercer for Guernsey singled his way on base, and teammate Westin Forshey batted him in on a deep ground ball to left field.
Cambridge responded well when Josiah Barnett took advantage of bases-loaded, hitting a triple into left field that supplied two RBIs for his team. After Guernsey County’s big inning offensively in the top of the third, it carried momentum into its defense and did not allow Cambridge to score in the inning’s bottom half. The Cambridge defense made adjustments for their next defensive inning and caused Guernsey County to go three-up, three-down in the fourth.
Forshey took care of business on the bump for Guernsey through 3 1/3 innings, fanning five batters. Mercer would take over mound duties in the rest of the fourth. Cambridge did not score on the inning.
Guernsey started collecting insurance runs in the top of the fifth. Blake Miller hit a triple deep into centerfield that scored Norman, who was on third from a triple of his own, and in the sixth Laine Wayble pieced a Texas leaguer into right field for an RBI.
Moving into the bottom of the sixth Cambridge was down 5-2. The Guernsey defense acquired a quick two outs, but two Cambridge players found their way on base. Rylee Wilson took full advantage of these baserunners, sending a ball deep into center field that scored both runners and cut the deficit to only one run. However the Cambridge rally fell short and the game ended on a pop-up.
Ryan Matthews threw a five-inning game for Cambridge with four strikeouts and was relieved by Wilson, who fanned two batters. Mercer ended the night with two Ks for Guernsey.
“We played well tonight,” said Cambridge head coach Bryan Wilson. “We just didn’t come out hitting tonight, we left the bases loaded a few times out there.”
Guernsey County will face off Mount Vernon today at 11 a.m. at Phillips Park for the Ohio Little League District 5 title. Guernsey County must beat the Jackets twice in order to secure the championship and state bid, Mount Vernon only needs to win one to secure the title. If necessary a second game will be played following immediately after the first.