Nichirin stuns Elks in 6th inning blast
The Elks' hopes of repeating as Marshall County Babe Ruth League champions took a major hit on Friday night when they suffered a shocking 5-3 loss to last place Nichirin in six innings.
Having defeated Nichirin handily in each of their three previous encounters, the Elks (7-3) appeared to be on track for another victory after taking a 3-1 lead into the sixth inning.
Things, however, went awry for the Elks after that point, as Nichirin (2-8) pushed across four runs in the bottom of the sixth to seize a 5-3 advantage before the game was called due to time restraints.
Thanks to Nichirin's stunning upset, the Elks fell two games behind first place A-Plus Collision Center in the league standings with only two games left to play.
Nichirin starting pitcher Hunter Haurez went the distance on the mound to pick up his second win of the season and allowed three runs in six innings of work on five hits and six walks to go along with nine strikeouts.
Ben Taylor went 2-for-3 with 2 RBI to lead the Elks offensively, while Iendi Biggers and Austin Wood each had one hit.
Despite racking up 11 strikeouts over six innings, Elk starting pitcher Will Johnson suffered the loss after yielding five runs, three earned, on four hits and three walks.
Landon Darnell (1 RBI), Hunter Bradford (1 RBI), Jacob Autry, and Camryn Ruiz tallied one hit apiece for Nichirin.
The Elks grabbed a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning when Biggers scored on an error after drawing a one-out walk and advancing to third on a single by Taylor.
In the top of the third, the Elks opened up a 3-0 advantage by plating two runs in the frame. Wood legged out an infield single and advanced to third on the play thanks to two throwing errors before Biggers drew a walk and stole second. Taylor then drove in Wood and Biggers by smacking a two-run single into left field.
Nichirin cut into the deficit in the bottom of the third and tallied one run in the inning to narrow the gap to 3-1. After reaching base on an error and stealing second, Laramie Plott advanced to third on an errant pickoff throw prior to coming home on a RBI groundout by Joseph Freeland.
The Elks left a runner in scoring position in each of the next three innings before those missed opportunities came back to haunt them in the bottom of the sixth, as Nichirin crossed home plate four times in the frame to pull ahead 5-3.
Blake Vinson drew a walk before scoring on an Ruiz single and a throwing error to cut the deficit to 3-2. Ruiz then advanced to third on a wild pitch, prior to scampering home on a RBI single by Darnell to tie the game at 3-3. After Darnell moved to third on two wild pitches, Haurez drew a walk before Bradford drove in Darnell with a RBI infield single to give Nichirin a 4-3 lead. Following a walk by Autry, Haurez raced home on a passed ball to cap the scoring in the inning.