Times Staff Reporter
Clay County advanced to a do-or-die game against Riley in the 11-year-old bracket of the Cal Ripken Southwest Regional Tournament, with an 8-2 victory Tuesday night.
Things looked bleak early, as Riley scored two runs in the top of the first, and stifled the Clay County offense, taking its 2-0 lead into the fourth inning.
But with one swing of his mighty bat, Sam Mace changed everything.
Mace led off the fourth with a solo homerun to cut the deficit in half. And from that point, the onslaught was on.
Clay County batted around in the inning, scoring four runs in all. Adding RBI's in the frame were Hunter Wolfe, Logan Ames and Tucker Stewart.
Head Coach Jeff Stewart was pleased with his team's ability to advance in a must win situation.
Aiding things was solid pitching.
After a rough first inning, Brayden White shut Riley down over the next three innings. Logan Ames then entered in the fifth and finished things off. All told, the pitching duo struck out eight, and walked two, while allowing seven hits.
Though not desperate for insurance, Clay County got it anyway, taking advantage of Riley mistakes to score four unearned runs in the bottom of the fifth to put the game out of reach. Stewart believed his team would take the momentum and use it to their advantage in the following championship game.
"If we hit the ball like that and keep consistent, I like our chances," Stewart said.