A-Plus Collision Center doubles up Elks
A-Plus Collision Center (3-0) won a battle of unbeaten teams on Monday night when they defeated the Elks 4-2 to claim first place in the Marshall County Babe Ruth League standings.
Although the Elks had won 12 straight games dating back to last season, APCC knocked the defending league champs on their heels early and built a 4-0 lead through the first three innings of play.
The Elks (2-1) narrowed the gap to 4-2 in the top of the fourth, but A-Plus Collision Center starting pitcher Brayden Gentry snuffed out scoring threats in each of the last three innings to help APCC hang on for the hard fought win.
Big 3rd helps
Aided by a three-run third inning, A-Plus Collision Center finished with eight hits and two walks against Elks starting pitcher Will Johnson, who suffered the loss despite recording 10 strikeouts.
Brett McGehee and Dominic West both tallied two hits to lead APCC's offensive attack, while Tristan Underwood (2 RBI), Gentry (1 RBI), Raymond Cooksey, and Logan Bailey each had one hit.
Gentry went the distance on the mound to pick up the win and yielded just two runs in seven innings of work on five hits and three walks to go along with nine strikeouts.
Ben Taylor (1 RBI), Austin Wood, Johnson, Nathan Thomason, and Gage Anderson notched one hit apiece for the Elks.
A-Plus Collision Center grabbed a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning when McGehee scampered home on a sacrifice fly by Gentry after leading off the frame with a single, stealing second, and advancing to third on a Bailey groundout.
Gentry worked around a one-out single by Thomason in the top of the second with the help of a 6-3 double play before APCC pushed across three runs in the bottom of the third to open up a 4-0 advantage.
West led off the inning with a single prior to advancing to third on a single by McGehee. After McGehee stole second, Johnson intentionally walked Gentry to load the bases with one out. Underwood then belted a two-run ground rule double into the left centerfield gap to make it 3-0 before Gentry scored on a passed ball a few moments later.
The Elks finally showed signs of life offensively in the top of the fourth and plated two runs in the frame to slice the deficit to 4-2. Wood drew a leadoff walk and stole second before racing home on a Taylor RBI single while Taylor advanced to second on the play thanks to a throwing error. Taylor then scored when APCC's second baseman allowed a groundball by Thomason to skip underneath his glove.
After both teams left men in scoring position in the fifth inning, the Elks had another chance to pull closer in the top of the sixth when Johnson doubled with one out, but Gentry picked off courtesy runner Allante Watts at second base before striking out Thomason to snuff out the threat.
The Elks mounted one final rally attempt in the top of the seventh and loaded the bases with two outs on an error, an Anderson bloop single, and a walk by Woods. Gentry, though, settled back down and escaped the jam by retiring Iendi Biggers on a fielder's choice to clinch the win for A-Plus Collision Center.