Times Sports Editor
Outstanding pitching and timely hitting were the key components for the Clay Youth League 11-year-old baseball team as they claimed the Cal Ripken Southwestern Indiana State Championship on Tuesday evening.
The CYL squad came into the day with the daunting task of defeating the Riley All-Stars twice in order to advance and got the first win via an 8-2 decision in the 6 p.m. game.
In that contest, Brayden White started on the mound for the CYL squad and allowed just two runs before giving way to Logan Ames, who closed the door on the win.
Why mess with a good thing?
In game two, White got the start again with just two innings of work allowed by Cal Ripken League rules. White held the Riley squad scoreless during his stint before Ames came in to finish over the final four frames.
Ames gave up a solo home run by Matt Deady, but that was the lone run allowed by the CYL in a standout 5-1 victory that propels the team into a state title battle this weekend against the Southeastern Indiana State winner at Bloomington.
After falling behind 2-0 in the first game, the CYL took the lead in the first inning as Tucker Stewart launched a solo home run to put his team out front.
Riley was kept mostly in check offensively squeezing out a single by Justin Jenkins in the first inning and a double by Deady in the third frame.
However, the fourth inning provided a bit of a jam for Ames on the mound.
After getting the first two batters of the inning, Seth Gilliam reached on a ground ball that squirted under Sam Mace's glove at first base. Pierce Gordon followed with a line single out of the shortstop's reach to put a runner in scoring position.
Ames was up to the task however, coaxing a popup from leadoff hitter, Logan Flack.
The CYL squad earned some breathing room in its own half of the fourth inning as Seth Barrett drew a walk that signaled the end of a great performance from Riley's hurler, Jenkins.
Flack came in to relieve Jenkins and had some trouble quickly as Hunter Wolfe ripped a double to the wall. After Jenkins got the first out of the inning on a strikeout, Mitch Howald smacked a two-run single to bring home Wolfe and pinch-runner, Blake Mershon.
The CYL added two more runs as Tanner Knust walked followed by an RBI single from Stewart, who was 3-for-3 with two RBI. White followed with an RBI single to leftfield to score Knust, but a great throw from Riley's left fielder gunned down Stewart at the plate to end the inning.
With a 5-0 lead to work with Ames went to work on closing out the win.
Riley's Deady wasn't going quietly as he lined a homerun to left centerfield to get his team on the board. Ames got the first out on a flyball before Grant Ellis reached on a sharp single. From there though, Ames got both Brayton Poore and Justin Wilson to popout to him to end the game and start the celebration.
2B -- CYL (Wolfe), Riley (Deady). HR -- Cyl (Stewart), Riley (Deady).