Things looked good for a while for Crawford County's 13-year old all-star team Friday, as they tried to navigate their way through the loser's bracket at the Babe Ruth Southern Illinois State Tournament, but it all fell apart late.
Crawford County rolled over Jasper County in their first game of the day, 13-5 and held an early lead over Richland County, but Richland County scored 14 times in their last three at-bats to rally for a 15-4 win and knock out Crawford County.
In game one, Crawford County got off to a fast start, scoring four times in the top of the first to take a lead they would not relinquish. Jasper County got a run back in the bottom of the first, but Crawford County scored twice in the top of the second to take a 6-1 lead. Jasper County came back with a run in the second and two in the third to pull within 6-4, but Crawford County came back with three in top of the fourth to make the score 9-4. Jasper County would get a run in the fifth to close the gap to 9-5, but Crawford County scored three in the sixth and one in the seventh to pull away for the win.
Nate Meese led Crawford County at the plate with a double, a single, three runs scored and two runs batted in, while David Goble singled twice and drove in three runs. Walker Sandschafer posted two singles, two runs batted in and two runs scored, Kobe Lorance singled twice and scored a run, Chase Johnson and Trayton Tragesser each singled and scored a run, Isaac York added a base hit, Logan Sexton scored three runs, Levi Hodge drove in a run and scored a run and Mason McKee scored a run.
Hodge earned the win on the mound, allowing five runs, three earned, on three hits, while walking four and striking out four in five innings. Lorance tossed two scoreless innings of relief, allowing no hits and walking one.
Game two started well for Crawford County, as they plated three runs in the bottom of the first to take a 3-0 lead. The score remained that way until the top of the third, when Richland County scored a run. Richland County then took the lead for good with a five-run fifth, then tacked on four more in the sixth for a 10-3 advantage. Crawford County scored once in the bottom of the sixth, but Richland County added five more in the seventh to put the game out of reach.
Sandschafer led the offense for Crawford County with two singles, a run batted in and a run scored, while Isaac York singled twice and knocked in a run. Johnson doubled and scored a run, Meese singled, drove in a run and scored a run, Sexton, Hodge, McKee and Conner Potts added a base hit apiece, Jason Meeks drove in a run and Tragesser scored a run.
Cade Slaughter suffered the loss on the mound, allowing six runs, two earned, on four hits, while walking three and striking out four in four and two-thirds innings. Sandschafer gave up four runs on two hits, walked two and struck out one in one-third of an inning and York allowed five runs on seven hits, walked two and struck out two in two innings of relief.
Mattoon would win the championship over Richland County Saturday, sending them to the Ohio Valley Regional in Elizabethtown, Ky., July 24-27.