Elks squeeze by A-Plus, await Friday night showdown

Wednesday, June 21, 2017
Elks’ starter Preston Shelton bears down in the first inning in his win over A-Plus Monday night at the Jonathan D. Hollingsworth Memorial Babe Ruth Park.
Tribune Photos by Anthony S. Puca

On Thursday, June 15 Walker Whaley (4-0) and Matthew McCormick tossed a combined perfect game in a 12-0 run-rule win over A-Plus with Whaley striking out five out of the nine batters he faced in the game before McCormick secured perfection with a 1-2-3 fourth inning.

Monday night at the Jonathan D. Hollingsworth Memorial Babe Ruth Park, the young A-Plus squad came back strong, giving the Elks all they had in a 4-1 loss.

Carson Cheek started for A-Plus on the mound and gave up one earned run on five hits, while striking out nine and walking zero in 4.2 innings of work.

Preston Shelton picked up his third win of the season against no losses, tossing three innings of two-hit ball. Shelton gave up one run, struck out seven and walked none on the hill and went 2-for-3 at the plate with an RBI and a run scored for the Elks.

The Elks threatened in the bottom of the first inning when Shelton banged a leadoff single and stole second before Peyton Graves followed with a single and also swiped second base.

A-Plus starting pitcher Carson Cheek tossed a solid 4.2 innings versus the Elks Monday night.

The 13-year old Cheek pulled a rabbit out of his hat, striking out the next three Elks’ batters looking to squash the two-on, no-out threat.

Peyton Graves slams a hard ground ball in the first inning versus A-Plus.

A-Plus got on the board in the top of the second inning even though Shelton struck four batters in the frame.

Zack Graves banged a leadoff single and went to second base on a wild pitch before Shelton got his first strikeout.

Strikeout number two came and went before strikeout number three resulted in a run for A-Plus as Graves scampered home from second base when Elks catcher Bryson Whaley threw out Grayson Miller at first base on a dropped third strike.

Shelton retired the next batter looking to end the inning.

Cheek induced three straight ground ball outs in the bottom of the inning and Shelton set down A-Plus 1-2-3 in the top of the third.

The Elks took a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the frame as Cheek gave up two hits and both runners scored on errors.

Elks’ first baseman Matthew McCormick puts the tag on Carson Cheek on a successful pickoff play in the first inning.

Walker Whaley came on for Shelton in the top of the fourth and retired the side in order before younger brother Bryson made it a 3-1 contest with an RBI single in the bottom of the inning.

Walker Whaley finished up his stint on the mound with a scoreless top of the fourth inning and the Elks did not score in the home half of the stanza.

McCormick relieved Walker Whaley on the mound to begin the sixth inning and proceeded to strike out the first two A-Plus batters before Blake Mooreland and Zach Graves walked.

Moreland, who had gone to third on a wild pitch and tried to score on another wild pitch, but was gunned down on a nice flip and tag play at home plate between Bryson Whaley and McCormick.

Jake Singleton slammed a two-out, ground-rule double in the bottom of the inning and Bryson Whaley knocked him in with an RBI single to right, making it 4-1.

MMC’s Caleb Grooms picks up a first inning single in his fill-in role with A-Plus.

A-Plus (3-7) fought back in the top of the seventh inning as John Morgan Thomas and Miller came up with back-to-back, one-out singles, but Thomas was erased for the second out trying to steal third base.

A walk to Caleb Grooms loaded the sacks as Miller took third base on a steal.

Caleb Grooms was hit by a pitch before the game ended on a rundown play when Miller was tagged out trying to come home on a passed ball.

A-Plus second baseman Hunter Bennett gets ready to catch a pop up in the third inning.

The Elks (8-1) and Marshall Medical Center (5-1) meet to decide first place in Friday night’s regular season finale.

A-Plus 010 000 0-1 4 3

Elks 002 101 X-4 7 0

A-Plus: Carson Cheek 1-for-3, Zack Graves 1-for-2, John Morgan Thomas 1-for-3, Grayson Miller 1-for-3

RBI: Miller

LP: Carson Cheek (4.2IP, 5H, 3R, 1ER, 9K, 0BB), Blake Mooreland (1.1IP, 2H, 1R, 1ER, 1K, 0BB)

Elks: Preston Shelton 2-for-3, Bryson Whaley 2-for-3, Peyton Graves 1-for-3, Walker Whaley 1-for-3, Jake Singleton 1-for-3

2B: Shelton, Singleton

RBI: Bryson Whaley 2, Shelton

WP: Shelton (3IP, 2H, 1R, 1ER, 7K, 0BB)

Hold: Walker Whaley (2IP, 0H, 0R, 0ER, 2K, 1BB)

Save: Matthew McCormick (2IP, 2H, 0R, 0ER, 3K, 3BB)

Thursday, June 15

Elks 423 3XX X-12 10 0

A-Plus 000 0XX X-0 0 5

Elks: Peyton Graves 2-for-3, Walker Whaley 2-for-3, Matthew McCormick 2-for-3, Jake Singleton 2-for-3, Preston Shelton 1-for-3, Spence Oliver 1-for-3

2B: Shelton, Singleton

RBI: Graves 3, McCormick 2, Oliver 2, Singleton

WP: Walker Whaley (3IP, 0H, 0R, 0ER, 5K, 0BB), Matthew McCormick (1IP, 0H, 0R, 0ER, 1K, 0BB)

LP: John Morgan Thomas (3IP, 9H, 9R, 9ER, 2K, 3BB), Blake Mooreland (1IP, 1H, 3R, 0ER, 2K, 0BB)