Indians hand North Adams first loss, 13-7 in championship game –
Story and photos by Mark Carpenter –
When the entire season comes down to one game and one team goes into that contest without a loss, that team has the definite target on their back and the pressure on their side of the field. That was the situation last Sunday afternoon in Ripley as the Southern Hills Youth league 12U baseball tournament title was up for grabs with an undefeated North Adams squad facing off with county rival Peebles. Even though there are rivals, they are friendly rivals as the game was very cleanly played and well-officiated and turned out to be what writers would term an “upset.”
After falling behind by four runs early, an inspired Peebles bunch turned on the motors in the top of the third inning, scoring nine runs and never looking back as they pulled off the upset and claimed the 12U tourney title, knocking off North Adams 13-7.
The pitching match up for the day saw North Adams starting right hander Landon Swayne and Peebles countering with right hander Ethan Atkins, and after Swayne held the Indians scoreless in the top of the first, the North Adams offense drew first blood in the bottom half.
Easton Daulton led off for the Devils with a base hit to right, stole second, and moved to third on a wild pitch. Lucas Roush drew a walk and Daulton came home on a run-scoring groundout off the bat of Swayne. Dominic Webb also coaxed a base on balls and after Atkins fanned Nathan Parks for the second out, a Peebles error on a ground ball by Colby Eldridge allowed Roush and Webb to score. A following base hit to right by Christopher Young drove home Eldridge to make it 4-0. Walks to Kelby Moore and Connor Rhoden loaded the bases but Atkins escaped further damage by getting Mason Groves on a comebacker to the mound.
Peebles put up a major threat in the top of the second when walks to Sean Copley and Dallas Wilkinson followed by Ethan Pierce being hit by a pitch put Swayne in a bases-loaded, no out jam. Keltin Robinson popped out to short for the first out and Swayne got both Jake Stephens and Gage Cragon swinging to leave the three runners stranded and keep Peebles off the board.
The Indians wouldn’t stay off of the board for long as they put together one of their biggest innings of the year when they came to bat in the top of the third, still trailing by four runs. Hayden Crum walked top begin the frame and came home when Evan Day blasted a double over the head of the left fielder. Day then took off for third on the next pitch and came home when the throw to third was off-target and the Peebles deficit was cut in half but the Indians weren’t near done.
One out later, Mason Sims drew another walk and came home when Atkins slapped a base hit to right. Two more walks, to Copley and Wilkinson, brought on a pitching change for North Adams, with Lucas Roush coming to the mound. Roush was promptly greeted by a single to right by Pierce that drove two more across, followed by a double down the right field line by Robinson that scored two more and made it 8-4. Stephens’ ground out to short scored Robinson to make it 8-4 and the final run of the big inning came when Crago walked, stole second and third, and came home on another throwing error.
Now with a five-run lead, Atkins retired the Devils in 1-2-3 fashion in the bottom of the third and his offense went to work again in the top of the fourth when Day walked and score on a base hit by Sims, who came home on a base hit by Atkins to make it 11-4 Peebles.
North Adams threatened in the bottom of the fourth when Eldridge led off with a two-bagger and Rhoden later walked, but a ground out to second by Groves left both runners stranded. Peebles tacked another run on to their lead in the top of the fifth with Webb now on the mound for the Devils. Wilkinson led off with a walk and later scored on an error to increase the Indians’ advantage to eight runs. That lead swelled to nine when Peebles added one more in the top of the sixth, bring North Adams to the plate in the bottom half with three more outs to keep their record unblemished but a giant deficit in front of them.
Give the Devils credit, they didn’t go down without making some noise. Swayne singled, Webb walked, and both came home on a base hit by Parks, who scored on a hit by Eldridge, but that was all the Devils could muster as Peebles reliever Keltin Robinson struck out Rhoden for the game’s final out and a 12U tournament championship for the Indians as they knocked off the previously unbeaten Devils by a final score of 13-7.
The postgame was a perfect example of sportsmanship after one umpire had commented that “it was one of the best games they had worked all season by kids and parents.” Both teams received medals and then posed for one group picture of the tourney champions and runners-up.