A-Plus totaled by Nichirin

Friday, June 17, 2011
Nichirin leadoff batter Blake Darnell (5) scores on a passed ball during a five-run first inning versus A-Plus. Darnell had two hits in three at bats and scored another run later on in the 12-1 run rule win. Tribune photo by Anthony S. Puca

It was a total loss suffered by A-Plus Collision Center Tuesday night as the 3-6 body shop boys were run over early and often in a 12-1 four inning, run-rule defeat at the hands of Nichirin (2-7).

Nichirin had a smooth operating offensive machine buoyed by the addition of 12-year old Jay Howard, brought up from his Cal Ripken Major League champion Barnes Construction squad after hurling a no-hitter and hitting a home run in Monday night's 5-2 title game victory over the Lawrence Brothers.

Howard kept the juices flowing Tuesday night, going 2-3 with 3 RBIs, 2 runs scored, and a stolen base in his Babe Ruth debut.

Nichirin leadoff man Blake Darnell set the table early, banging a leadoff single to left field off A-Plus starter Dunn Crowder.

Hunter Talley grounded a ball to short that was misplayed by Aaron Medley and Cameron Isley walked to load the bases.

A passed ball bounced off the brick wall behind home plate and rocketed away from Nichirin catcher Grayson Wiles.

By the time Wiles tracked the wild ball down, both Darnell and Talley raced home to make it 2-0 ballgame.

In addition, Isley, Gunner Southerland, and Connor Mealer would all cross home plate in the inning as A-Plus could not fix the dents in their defensive armor, committing two more errors, walking two more, and letting two more pitches get to the backstop before the wreck finally ended.

Nichirin starter Stuart 'Rat' Warner faced four A-Plus batters in the bottom of the inning and came within one out of pitching a no-hitter in the ballgame.

Warner struck out four and issued five bases on balls, and his only base hit allowed was an RBI single by Wiles in the bottom of the last inning that accounted for A-Plus's only run.

Talley singled and stole second in the bottom of the second and came around to score on Howard's first Babe Ruth League hit to make it 6-0 and Howard would steal second and score moments later on an outfield error.

Warner was holding A-Plus in check on the mound and in the top of third, Nichirin put the game away when they scored five times to make it 12-0.

Howard knocked in two with a laser double to center, Warner had an RBI single, Talley was awarded an RBI on a bases-loaded walk, and Isley knocked in one on a fielder's choice.

A-Plus came up to bat for their last chance in the bottom of the fourth and Warner whiffed the first two batters and it looked like he would get the no-hit shut-out, but Ethan Evans and Bryce Wunderlin reached base on back-to-back errors before Wiles' base knock broke up Warner's gem.

As of Tuesday, with four days remaining in league play, the Elks were sitting at 9-0, MMC dwelled in second place at 6-3, A-Plus remained in third place with a 3-6 record, The Farm Center had two wins and six losses, and Nichirin was one game back in the loss column at 2-7.