LEWISTOWN - Mifflin County and Bellefonte both had two big wins under their belts heading into Friday's 11- and 12-year-old District 5 Little League all-star contest, but one of the teams had to take its first loss of the tournament.
Unfortunately for Mifflin County, a three-run effort in the bottom of the fifth by Bellefonte for a 6-5 final means the locals are now headed to the consolation bracket, while Bellefonte advances to play either Clearfield or Philipsburg-Osceola.
Bellefonte- which was the home team after the coin toss - was playing catch up the entire game as it came back to tie Mifflin County 1-1 in the first and 3-3 in the third. However, a hit batsman to lead off the bottom of the fifth and three of the team's four singles resulted in the 6-5 final score.
Sentinel photo by BRADLEY KREITZER
Mifflin County’s Brian Yetter turns a double play against Bellefonte in a Little League District 5 game Friday at Rec Park in Lewistown. See more photos online at cu.lewistownsentinel.com
The real scorcher of the inning was after Colton Burd and Ben Macaffe each collected an RBI apiece for the 5-5 tie. Nick Fisher then sent an RBI single skipping past Mifflin County's second baseman, and it brought home Burd for the win.
In the top of the sixth, Mifflin County threatened to knot the game up with a runner at second base, but winning pitcher Cam Burris had three strikeouts in the inning - one looking - to complete the game.
"I thought the kids played well, we just didn't get a key hit when we needed it. We had guys on base every inning," Mifflin County coach Rod Henry said.
Mifflin County's first run came in the top of the first, when Evan Smith reached on a single to left, advanced when Bellefonte made an error on an infield grounder by Brian Yetter then raced home on an RBI single to left by starting pitcher Cam Shawver.
With two on base and one out, Mifflin County was poised to take a larger lead, but in the next at bat Tristin Lockett lined out to starting pitcher Ben McCartney, who picked off Shawver at first for the inning-ending double play.
To start the home half of the inning, Bellefonte leadoff batter C.J. Funk ripped Shawver's second pitch of the game over the fence in dead away center for the 1-1 tie. Funk was Bellefonte's leading batter with a 3-for-3 evening, including a double to go along with his leadoff home run.
Mifflin County had its own double play in the inning when Yetter took a grounder at shortstop, stepped on second, then completed the play with a throw to first baseman Lockett. This sent the locals into the top of the second with plenty of momentum, and Rodney Henry took advantage when he launched a two-run homer for the 3-1 lead.
Shawver induced an infield ground out and struck out two to keep the lead through the rest of the second, but in the third McCartney tied the game 3-3 with a two-run homer of his own off Yetter, who had taken the mound after Shawver twisted his ankle running the bases in the second.
Not to let the game end without another long ball, Mifflin County's Shane Dippery took the 5-3 lead in the fifth when with a runner on second, he whiffed two pitches to go down in the count 0-2, but on the third pitch he saw he put the ball over the left-field fence for the final home run of the game.
Unfortunately for Mifflin County, the lead didn't hold against Bellefonte's three-run fifth inning for the final 6-5 score.
In the contest, Mifflin County had eight hits to Bellefonte's seven. Mifflin County's three pitchers combined for seven strikeouts, while McCartney alone had that same amount and Burris had four.
Smith went 2-for-4 at the plate for Mifflin County and Shawver, Dippery and Henry all had at least one RBI for the locals.
With the loss, Mifflin County drops into the consolation bracket and will play Sunday with a location and opponent yet to be determined.
Rod Henry said while he was sorry to take the loss, both teams played well.
"Hopefully we see (Bellefonte) again," he said.
Big Valley 21, State College American 10 (4 inn.)
STATE COLLEGE - Colby Bodtorf hit for the cycle - in order, no less - to be the batting leader for Big Valley in a 21-10 win over State College American in four innings Friday.
The victory advances Big Valley in the District 5 11-12 Little League elimination bracket and ends the season for the American.
Six State College pitchers weren't enough to dampen the Big Valley bats. The locals sent five balls over the outfield fence, starting with a Levi Wise grand slam in the first inning. Ethan Eichhorn and Kaden Milliron each had two-run shots in the third, while Bodtorf delivered three runs and Brady Yoder two in the final inning.
Eichhorn, who also had a double, was 2-for-2 and was one of three batters to drive in two runs, and was credited with the win for his two innings of work on the hill. Bodtorf was 4-for-4 with four runs batted in; Milliron and Wise also plated four apiece.