Times Staff Report
The Clay County 13-year-old Babe Ruth team's quest for a third straight state championship came up a tad short in Saturday's title game against Edgewood.
The host squad committed too many miscues and Edgewood took advantage to claim a 6-5 victory and advance to the Ohio Valley Regional.
Clay County jumped on top as Tucker Stewart drove in Tanner Knust, who had walked and stolen second to set the plate. However, Edgewood barged right back with a three-run outburst sparked by Clay County's shaky defense.
A one-out single from Aaron Matthews was followed by a double from Kyle Gregory and Tyler Gregory hit a single to tie the score at 1-all. However, a pair of two-out errors allowed both Gregory's to score to give Edgewood the 3-1 advantage.
The host Clay County squad bounced back to get within 3-2 as Brayden White started the second inning with a two-base hit. He came around to score on a single by Mitchell Howald.
The third inning was Edgewood's turn as Kyle Gregory drilled an RBI triple and Matt McCloskey followed with a two run base hit to push the gap to 5-2.
Clay County showed its mettle with a rally of its own in the fifth inning as Stewart walked with two outs and scored on a ringing triple by Seth Barrett. A balk from Edgewood relief pitcher Brian Hayden brought home Stewart. Ben Girton doubled, stole third base and scored the tying run on a Hunter Wolfe single as Clay County had renewed life.
Edgewood scored the eventual game-winner as Tyler Gregory's one-out single and stolen base started the rally. Evan Parsons reached on a Clay County error that also brought home the winner.
Clay County had chances in the final two innings, loading the bases in the sixth unsuccessfully and had Nate Thomas reach on a seventh inning error. Howald followed with a single, but Tyler Gregory got the final out to send Edgewood to the regional.
The Clay County 15-year-old team marched into Sunday evening's bracket play with wins over Oaklandon, 9-3, and New Castle, 9-3 despite a lengthy rain delay. On Saturday, Clay County fell behind 3-0 in the third inning to an Elwood squad that they narrowly defeated 1-0 in pool play. Clay County bounced back and got a two-run home run from Conner Pierce in the third and built upon that lead.
With a six-run lead in the bottom of the sixth inning, Joe Ball blasted a walk-off grandslam to enforce the 10-run rule.
Clay County was scheduled to play Noblesville on Sunday afternoon.
A full story will appear after final results are received.