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Friday, May 6, 2016

Clay County advances to final eight, defeating Shelby County

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Clay County's Ben Girton hits a line single during the team's 8-1 victory over Shelby County to start bracket play during the Babe Ruth State Tourney on Sunday. Girton was also named Player of the Game for Clay County. [Order this photo]

Times Sports Editor

The Clay County 13-year-old all-stars opened bracket play on Sunday afternoon in the Babe Ruth State Tourney and picked up right where they left off in pool play on Saturday.

Nate Thomas delivers a pitch during the Clay County win on Sunday. [Order this photo]
After piling up 35 runs in a pair of wins against Connesville and Delta, the Clay County squad tallied seven runs in the first frame against Shelby County on the way to an 8-2 win. The victory propels the team into the final eight that starts play on Wednesday. Clay County will play at 5 p.m. against the winner of a Sunday night game between Riley and Greenfield.

Clay County did all of its damage in that pivotal first inning with two outs as Seth Barrett reached on a single, Ben Girton followed with a base hit and Hunter Wolfe loaded the bases by drawing a walk.

Brayden White stepped to the plate and reached via a Shelby County error that extended the inning and Landon Swearingen followed with a base hit of his own. Mitchell Howald was hit-by-pitch to continue the rally, Blake Mershon punched an RBI double to bring home another run and Tanner Knust capped the seven-run outburst with another hit to put his squad ahead 7-0.

Tucker Stewart made sure that lead held up early on as he pitched the first three innings, allowing just a single run before giving way to Nate Thomas in the fourth inning. Thomas, who was the game-winner against Connersville, held Shelby County in check before Clay County was able to add an insurance run in the fourth inning without the benefit of a base hit.

Barrett drew a walk with one out and stole second base before Girton also reached on a free pass and, as ball four got away from the catcher, Barrett advanced to third. Thomas then helped his own cause by hitting a grounder to shortstop that scored the run before Girton was thrown out at third base trying to advance.

Thomas held Shelby County scoreless over three innings of work before giving way to Howald in the top of the seventh inning and he shut the door with a strikeout.

In earlier action on Sunday, Valle Field defeated Noblesville by a score of 14-2 and Batesville defeated Connersville, 14-4.

In today's games, Edgewood takes on Anderson (Sloderbeck) at 5 p.m. and New Palestine takes on Anderson (Shryock) at 7:30 p.m. Both games take place at Northview High School.

Babe Ruth State Tourney

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2B -- CC (Mershon).

WP -- Stewart.