COLUMBUS — The Harborcreek Junior League baseball team used a huge seven-run fifth inning to break open a close game and hand DuBois its first loss of All-Star play with a 16-5 victory late Thursday night at the Section 1 Tournament.
Harborcreek jumped out to 5-0 lead after the top of the fourth, only to see DuBois push three runs across in the bottom half of the fourth to make it a game at 5-3.
However, it was all Harborcreek from there, as the District 3 champs plated seven runs in the fifth before adding two more in both the sixth and seventh innings to finish off a full-length victory that ended just after 11:30 p.m.
The victory put Harborcreek into the drivers seat as the lone undefeated team in the tournament.
Both teams’ starting pitchers — DuBois’ Chase Husted and Harborcreek’s Cody Smith — worked out of mini-jams in the first two innings to keep it a scoreless game.
Husted stranded a runner at second in the first and left two more runners on base in the second. Husted was lifted after just 2 1/3 innings in hopes of preserving him for the weekend.
Meanwhile, DuBois threatened to take the early lea in the bottom of the first.
Garrett Starr led off the inning with a hot shot to third that deflected off the Harborcreek third baseman and went as an infield single. Kolby Franklin then doubled with one out to put two runners in scoring position.
However, Harborcreek shortstop Casey Smith followed with a huge defensive play when he jumped to snag a hard-hit line drive by Husted. Casey Smith then got a strikeout to end the inning and strand Franklin and Starr at second and third, respectively.
Harborcreek carried that momentum into the third and grabbed the lead with a run.
Casey Smith led off the inning with a walk, while Cameron Williamson followed with a single to left. Smith took third on a deep fly ball to center.
Williamson took off for second with Aiden Kelly at the plate. Catcher Franklin fired to Starr covering second, and DuBois appeared to have a play at the plate as Smith broke late for home. But, Starr bobbled the throw and Smith raced home to make it 1-0.
Harborcreek added to its lead with four more runs in the fourth, coupling four hits with two DuBois errors. Williamson had a two-run single in the inning, while Cody Smith also knocked in a run with a single. Williamson went 4-for-5 with three RBIs.
Down 5-0, DuBois got back into the game with a rally in the bottom of the fourth.
Husted led off the inning with a walk and was the last batter Cody Smith faced as Harborcreek took him out to save him for the weekend. Cole Sansom greeted reliever Kelly with a single to right.
Both runners advance a base on a wild pitch in the dirt on a strikeout before Husted scored on another wild pitch that saw Sansom reach third.
Brycen Dinkfelt then chopped a pitch high off the plate that third baseman Austin Vaughn couldn’t make a barehanded play on. Sansom sprinted home on the infield single. Tyler Newell came on to run for Dinkelt and got caught between first and second on a delayed steal.
However, the throw to second got past the second baseman and also skipped past the center field who was charging in to back up the play. Newell hustled all the way around the bases to score from first to make it a 5-3 game.
Kelly stopped the damage there with back-to-back strikeouts to end the inning, then Harborcreek broke things wide open with its seven-run fifth that featured six hit and a pair of DuBois errors. Kelly had a huge three-run double to punctuate the inning.
Miscues hurt DuBois all game, as the District 10 champs committed six errors around 18 Harborcreek hits.
DuBois did get two runs back in the bottom of the fifth on a RBI double by Franklin and run-scoring single from Lennon Lindholm. But, it wasn’t nearly enough as Harborcreek scored four more runs over the final two innings to finish off its lopsided victory.
Franklin and Lindholm each went 2-for-4 with a RBI for DuBois.