A-Plus claims Babe Ruth title

Friday, June 20, 2014
A-Plus Collision Center defeated Nichirin 9-1 on Monday night to clinch the 2014 Marshall County Babe Ruth League title. Tribune photos by Louis G. Scheuchenzuber

On Monday night, A-Plus Collision Center (10-1) officially dethroned the Elks as the champions of the Marshall County Babe Ruth League when they defeated a mistake prone Nichirin squad 9-1 in five innings to claim the 2014 title.

After knocking off the second place Elks three days earlier, Nichirin looked to topple another title contender on Monday, but APCC quickly doused their upset hopes by building an 8-0 lead through the first three innings of play before coasting to their 10th win of the season.

'Great feeling'

A-Plus Collision Center starting pitcher Brett McGehee allowed just one hit in four innings of work to help lead his team to a 9-1 win over Nichirin.

"It's a great feeling. These guys took care of business all year," said A-Plus Collision Center coach Mike Bailey. "Sometimes you think you're going to have to go down to the wire to win the championship, but another team helped us out. We've had only one off game this year and that's it. Other than that we've been very consistent this season. We've gotten good pitching, solid defense, and key hits all year."

APPC starting pitcher Brett McGehee turned in another strong performance on the mound to earn his sixth victory of the season and allowed just one unearned run in four innings of work on one hit and one walk while recording six strikeouts. Logan Bailey then replaced McGehee on the mound and tallied three strikeouts over one scoreless inning.

Errors' aid

A-Plus Collision Center mustered just four hits and two walks in the contest, but took advantage of six Nichirin errors, which led to eight of their nine runs. McGehee went 2-for-3 with three stolen bases and three runs scored to lead APCC offensively, while Jarvis Lyttle and Tristan Underwood both tallied a hit and 2 RBI.

Hunter Haurez singled to account for Nichirin's lone hit of the contest. Nichirin starting pitcher Hunter Bradford was unable to overcome his team's shoddy defense and suffered the loss after allowing eight unearned runs over two and a third innings on three hits and a walk. Jacob Autry came on in relief of Bradford and gave up one run over an inning and two-thirds on a hit and a walk.

Nichirin had a chance to take the lead in the top of the first inning after putting runners on the corners with two outs thanks to a Haurez infield single and an error, but McGehee struck out Denver Kelly to extinguish the threat.

First of many

A-Plus Collision Center then took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first when McGehee scored on a wild pitch after reaching base on an error and stealing second and third base.

APCC continued to cash in on Nichirin's defensive miscues and pushed across two runs in the second inning with the help of three errors to open up a 3-0 advantage before crossing home plate five times in the bottom of the third on the strength of two errors, a McGehee infield single, a two-run single by Underwood, and a Lyttle two-run double to forge an 8-0 lead.

In the top of the fourth, Nichirin trimmed the deficit to 8-1 when Bradford scored on an errant pickoff throw after drawing a walk and advancing to second when Autry was hit by a pitch.

A-Plus Collision Center quickly got that run back in the bottom of the fourth to open up a 9-1 advantage. After legging out an infield single, McGehee stole second before coming home thanks to two wild pitches. Bailey then held Nichirin scoreless in the fifth inning to keep the mercy rule in effect.