Elks last victim in Nichirin's title season
It was only fitting that the twelve-time defending champion Elks were on the plate last for the 2012 regular season champion Nichirin (10-2) squad, and for much of the game it was the Elks that held the upper hand until a defensive breakdown cost them in a 9-5 loss.
Starting hurler Chandler Harmon held Nichirin scoreless through three innings and Nichirin starter David Looney was just as tough, allowing just two unearned runs in the bottom of third.
A one-out base on balls to Wilson Limbaugh and a stolen base, followed by a Nichirin error gave Harmon room to drill a two-run double and give himself a 2-0 lead, entering the top of the fourth.
Cameron Isley laced a one-out single to right in the frame and Stuart Warner followed with a base on balls.
A ground ball out to second put Nichirin runners on first and third with two outs when a throw to try to get Warner at second on a steal attempt sailed into center field, allowing Isley to cross home plate.
Gunner Southerland walked to keep the rally alive before Harmon got out the jam on a pop-up to Will Johnson at second base.
Looney continued his solid performance on the mound, setting down the Elks 1-2-3 in the bottom of the inning.
In the top of the fifth, Ta Ta Davis walked with one out, Hunter Talley reached on an error, and Jay Howard made it bases juiced when he drew a 3-2 base on balls.
Harmon looked like he would get of trouble on a pop-up in the infield for the second out, but Isley had other ideas when he drilled a two-run single to center to give Nichirin a 3-2 lead.
Warner came to the hill for Nichirin in the bottom of the inning and did not allow a run or hit.
Nichirin busted the game wide open in the sixth, scoring six times on just four hits.
Madison Peete and Warner had the only two RBI hits in the inning as the Elks' defense caved in with four errors in the frame.
Connor Mealer and Isley had the other two base knocks for Nichirin in the decisive frame.
The Elks would not go down without a fight as Harmon led off the bottom of the inning with a single and came home on an RBI double by Curt Taylor to make it 9-3.
After two pop-up outs, Carson Walker walked and Iendi Biggers reached on an error that scored Taylor to make it 9-4.
Jamie Crowell was hit by a pitch and Walker scored on a throwing error to bring the potential tying run to the plate with the bases loaded, but the game ended when Isley squeezed a pop-up at first base.