Valley Sports Report
TREMONT, Pa. — Jersey Shore overcame an eight-run first-inning outburst by Athens, rallying for a 13-10 win here Saturday night to force a winner-take-all championship game in the double-elimination Section III Little League baseball playoffs.
Athens will square off with Jersey Shore again Sunday, with the winner advancing to the State tournament.
Jersey Shore scored twice in the top of the first inning, but Athens rallied in the home half of the frame to take an 8-2 lead.
Kamdyn Wheeler led off the bottom of the first inning with a single, but was replaced on the base paths moments later as the result of a fielder’s choice off the bat of Sam Cheresnowsky. After a walk to Connor Davidson, Eli Hicks stroked an RBI single to put Athens on the board.
A two-out walk to Alex McQuay loaded the bases, then Cartyr Cockcroft stroked a two-run single to give Athens a 3-2 lead. Six consecutive walks forced home five runs that pushed the lead to 8-2.
Jersey Shore took advantage of three Athens errors to score five runs and trim the deficit to 8-7 after 1 1/2 innings.
Athens loaded the bases in the bottom of the second inning, but couldn’t push another run across the plate.
Thanks to a two-out error, Jersey Shore scored a run in the top of the third inning to tie the game at 8-8.
Davidson led off the bottom of the third inning with a double, but moments later was thrown out at third base on a fielder’s choice grounder off the bat of Hicks, who eventually scored as the result of three two-out walks to give Athens a 9-8 lead.
Two more Athens errors helped Jersey Shore to a pair of runs to give them a 10-9 lead after 3 1/2 innings.
In the home half of the fourth, Cheresnowsky and Davidson stroked back-to-back one-out singles, and Cheresnowsky raced home on an RBI single by Hicks to tie the game at 10-10. Duncan Thetga walked to load the bases with one out, but Jersey Shore avoided further damage.
Another error helped Jersey Shore to two runs in the top of the fifth, and an error resulted in another insurance run in the top of the sixth inning to give JS a 13-10 lead.
With one out in the home half of the sixth, Hicks singled to center field, and Thetga worked a walk, but a hard grounder resulted in a game-ending 6-4-3 double play.
Hicks stroked three singles, scored two runs, and drove in three runs, and Davidson doubled and singled, scored one run, and knocked in one run to pace Athens at the plate, while Cheresnowsky singled, scored twice, and drove in one run, and Cockcroft singled, scored once, and drove in two runs.
Brycen Wood and Wheeler each singled, scored one run, and drove in one run for Athens, while McQuay and Graham Wanck each scored one run.
Athens received 16 walks from Jersey Shore pitchers, but left 12 runners on base, while Athens pitchers only walked five, but its defense committed eight errors in the loss.
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