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New Castle 12U team clubs Cambridge City to move on in tourney

By RON GREESON - For The Courier-Times

New Castle’s 12U All-Star Baseball team had started well in its last District 6 tournament game, but didn’t end well in dropping a close contest to Hagerstown in an extra inning.

The Trojans didn’t do that Thursday night in the team’s elimination game versus Cambridge City.

Host New Castle scored four early runs as the visiting team in the night’s opening elimination game, and then exploded offensively in the third inning, eventually posting a 20-4, four-inning run-rule win.

The team advanced to the late Friday night elimination game against Union County, which defeated Brooklyn (Anderson) in Thursday night’s second game.

Tatum Abrams doubled in Landon Semler with two outs in the top of the first inning to get New Castle on the scoreboard, all before Cambridge City took a short-lived lead with two tallies in the home half of the inning.

Brody Puckett of CC reached on an error to start the inning, and then Jacob Richardson was hit by a pitch. Luke Williams then walked to load the bases, before an error allowed the first run to cross. The second scored when a groundout by Jeran Troutwine to shortstop resulted in a throw home for a force out, but when a throw to first base was attempted for a double play, Williams broke for home plate.

The runner was safe at first base, and Williams was safe at the plate for the go-ahead run for Cambridge City.

New Castle went ahead for good in the top of the second inning.

The first two of four CC errors started the rally for the Trojans, as Robert Fox then singled in the first run of the inning, and a throwing error allowed runners to advance to second and third. Tyson Lewis then doubled in the last two runs of the inning, the go-ahead runs for a 4-2 NC lead.

Luke Reeves was the starting pitcher for New Castle, and threw 50 pitches before being relieved by Fox to finish the bottom of the second inning.

The lead exploded in the top of the third, as 17 Trojans came to the plate, and 13 runs were recorded.

Abrams walked to start the rally, with Ethan Blackburn reaching after being hit by a pitch. Reeves then stroked an RBI single to make the score 5-2 with runners now on first and second base. Logan Tharp then came to the plate, hitting for Jake Jenkins, put down a bunt, and all three runners were safe on a fielder’s choice.

Fox then cleared the bases with a three-run triple for an 8-2 lead. Lewis reached on an outfield error as the ninth run scored, and Lewis finished on second base. Gavin Frazier then blasted a two-run home run to expand the lead to 11-2.

Semler singled to continue the offensive outburst, then Kyle Golliher added a single in hitting for Drew Dock. A wild pitch advanced the base runners to second and third base, with run 12 crossing on a sacrifice fly to left by Abrams. On the throw to the plate, the CC catcher caught the ball and tried to throw out Golliher at third base after Semler was safe at home.

The throw went into left field, and Golliher got up and scored the ninth run of the inning for New Castle.

Still, NC was not done.

Blackburn walked and then went to second on a wild pitch. After a pop out for the second out of the inning, Tharp had an infield single with runners now on first and third. Tharp stole second base, then Fox doubled in two runs, giving him five runs knocked in during this inning alone. Lewis then doubled in Fox, and Frazier doubled in Lewis to make it 13 runs in the inning, and a 17-2 lead in the middle of the third inning.

With the 15-run rule in the third inning looming, Cambridge City fought back to score twice in the bottom of the third inning to extend the game.

Oliver Webb walked, then Luke Basler grounded into a force out. Basler scored after a single by Troutwine and an error, with Troutwine ending up on third base. Evan Stuckey drove in Troutwine on a ground out to shortstop.

Basler, Sam Bogue, and Stuckey all worked on the mound for Cambridge City.

The score read 17-4 for NC after three innings, and the Trojans added the final three runs of the game in the top of the fourth inning.

Golliher reached on an error to start the at-bat and Abrams had an infield single. Blackburn hit a smash down the third base line, which Basler fielded at the bag, tagged the bag at third for a force out then fired to second base for a double play.

But Reeves singled to put runners on first and second base, and both advanced on a wild pitch. Tharp hit a two-run single, and Fox reached on an error, with Tharp scoring the final runs of the inning and game.

Leo Russell singled to start the Cambridge City bottom of the fourth inning, and Puckett followed with a double.

But Golliher retired the next three CC hitters without a run scoring, as he finished the game with three straight outs. Both Fox and Golliher can pitch in subsequent games.

Manager Kevin Frazier was happy with his team’s effort after the loss to Hagerstown in the previous tournament game.

“I was most pleased with our hitting, we had struggled in the past games,” Frazier said after the win. “We started well in the Hagerstown game, then fizzled out a little bit.”

New Castle defeated Union County by just a 2-1 score in its first tournament game, and then scored eight early runs versus Hagerstown before failing to score again as the Tigers came back to win 9-8 in seven innings.

“If we don’t hit, don’t score runs, and don’t win, we go home (season is over),” Frazier added. “It’s as simple as that.”