(Photo by David Jenkins, Staff)
SIKESTON -- Rallying for three runs in wild sixth inning, the Scott County All Stars pulled out a 6-5 win over Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada on Friday in the Cal Ripken 11U Midwest Plains Regional Tournament.
"We kicked it around for six innings," Scott County coach Scott Nichols said. "But we just kind of hung around and then finally we got a few breaks.
"They gave us some (breaks), we took advantage of them and finally the ball started falling in for us."
Down 5-3 after Canada opened sixth and final frame by adding an insurance run to their lead the All Stars kicked of the bottom of the frame with leadoff hitter Seth Neiderkorn reaching on a missed pop up in shallow left center field.
Next up to bat, Cole Nichols hit a grounder that got past the shortstop before rolling all the way back to the left field fence, scoring both Neiderkorn and Nichols on the play to tie the game.
"It seemed to take a bit of a hop on the (shortstop)," Canada coach Dickson Robin said. "Then it darted right through the gap past the left fielder. That kid running (Nichols) was a rabbit so he got around there pretty quick."
Later in the inning, with runners on first and third with one out, Scott County caught a fortunate break when, on a missed bunt attempt, the ball went sailing to the backstop bringing in Kaden Robin from third for the winning run.
"(The batter) offers at one high and outside," Nichols said. "It probably worked out better than him getting the bunt down because Kaden just busted his rear end and beats the play.
"It was fabulous. Good hustle."
The rally helped the All Stars erase what was a 3-0 first inning deficit after Scott County opened the game with three straight errors in the field.
Nichols hit a two-run home run to center field in the third, however, to close his team back to within a run of Canada.
Canada's Brennan Roach then hit a solo home run up 4-2 in the fourth before the All Stars scored on a bases-loaded passed ball in the fifth to cut their deficit back to one.
Canada's last run came in the top of the sixth when Roach reached on an error by the second baseman before coming around to score later in the inning.
"I thought we were in good shape going into the bottom of the sixth," Robin said. "We had scored a little insurance to make it 5-3, but things happens in baseball."
Despite a few miscues in the field, Robin added he was pleased with how his kids opened up the tournament.
"Overall the boys played fantastic," he said. "Defensively they made some plays that would have made the ESPN guys pretty happy. It was a nice show.
"The pitching was fantastic. I'm not sure how many hits our kid gave up overall, but we just didn't get the key hits when we needed to."
For Scott County, besides scoring the game-tying run, Cole Nichols also picked up the win. Moving from shortstop to the mound in the fourth, Nichols allowed one run on no hits and one walk while striking out four. Starting the game, Bobby Wright Jr. went the first three inning, giving up four runs on three hits and one walk while striking out six.
"These guys have carried us," Scott Nichols said of Cole Nichols and Wright. "Not just in this series of tournaments, but they also play on my team at Bell City and they carry us there (as well).
"If they have an off night we struggle. When they're on and we're catching the ball, we're hard to beat."