ST. MARYS — Seven innings of baseball was not enough for the DuBois and St. Marys Senior Little League teams in the District 10 championship on Wednesday evening at Memorial Park.
Finally in the bottom of the eighth inning, a play at the plate ended up on the wrong side for DuBois as St. Marys won the game, 2-1, in eight innings.
The win for St. Marys forces an “if necessary” game to be played on Friday evening at City Park in DuBois for all the marbles between the two teams. The winner will advance to the Section 1 Tournament on July 5 at FCV-Mid East Little League.
Tied 1-1 in the bottom of the eighth, DuBois’ Garrett Prosper came on in relief of Dylan McCluskey. After getting a strikeout right away, he walked Kael Azzato and Isaac Brock.
During Brock’s at-bat, Azzato moved to second on a wild pitch and stole third base.
After Brock got on, DuBois elected to intenionally walk Will Uberti to load the bases, giving them a force out at any base.
On a 1-1 pitch, Brady Schneider bounced the ball to third bas. DuBois third baseman Noah Bloom fired home and the ball was initially dropped by the DuBois catcher. The catcher appeared to have picked up the ball and touched the plate in plenty of time, but the home plate umpire ruled Azzato safe to end the game.
St. Marys starting pitcher Hunter Cashmer started off the game in dominant fashion. He faced the minimum in those three frames with only Bloom getting on base with a single. His special pinch runner, Damon Olson, was thrown out at second base trying to steal second by St. Marys catcher Jake Meeker.
DuBois starting pitcher Heath Means matched Cashmer through those three innings by putting zeroes up, although he did give up base hits to Kael Azzato and Alec Wehler in those first three innings.
St. Marys also nearly scored in the bottom of the first. With runners at first and second, Alex Fedus’ groundball to shortstop was thrown to DuBois second baseman Dayne Bauman. Bauman got the force at second base, but couldn’t get a throw off to first base. Meanwhile, Meeker, who was at second base, came all the way around to score on the play.
However, it was determined that there was interference at second base trying to break up the double play. That gave DuBois the third out of the inning and the run scored did not count.
In the top of the fourth, McCluskey slapped a one-out single into left field, while Prosper also followed with a single. Both runners moved up a base to second and third on a wild pitch. Jordan Frano then grounded out to score McCluskey, giving DuBois a 1-0 lead and its lone run of the game.
In the bottom of the fifth with one out, Means gave up a walk and a single to Cashmer, putting runners at first and second. DuBois then went to McCluskey in relief.
McCluskey walked his first two batters in Meeker and Wehler, which allowed Ryan Fritz to score to tie the game.
McCluskey struck out the next batter for the second out, and got a groundout to escape further damage.
In the top of the seventh, Jordan Frano started off the inning with a leadoff single, but his special pinch runner –Tyler McIntosh –was erased off the basepaths as St. Marys right fielder Fritz made a nice play and threw onto first to get McIntosh for the double play.
McCluskey also forced a double play in the bottom of the seventh. With one out, a soft liner back to the mound was gloved by McCluskey, and a throw to first ended the frame and sent it into extras.
With one out in the top of the eight, Means singled before Damon Olson dropped down a bunt for a base hit, putting runners at first and second. The bunt base hit was Cashmer’s last batter as he reached the 95-pitch limit.
St. Marys went to Schneider in relief and got a fielder’s choice at second base for the second out to put runners at the corners.
On the next pitch to the next batter, the ball got away from the St. Marys catcher Meeker. But, Meeker hurried and scooped the ball up, and fired over to Schneider covering home as Schneider tagged out Means at home on a close play to send it to the bottom of the eighth.
Cashmer allowed an earned run on six hits, and struck out three in 7 1/3 innings of work. He did not walk a batter.
For DuBois, Means went 4 1/3 innings and allowed an earned run on three hits. He walked four and whiffed four. McCluskey went 2 2/3 innings without allowing a run or a hit. He also walked four and struck out four.
Friday’s game at City Park will begin at 6 p.m.