The road through the loser's bracket proved a bit too long for Crawford County's 14-year old all-star team at the Babe Ruth Southern Illinois State Tournament in Paris over the weekend.
After losing their first game of the tournament Thursday, Crawford County rebounded to win a pair of games in the loser's bracket and found themselves one game away from the championship game before losing to the same team they lost to in the first round - Mattoon.
On Friday, Crawford County rolled over Wabash County, 12-1.
Crawford County led throughout, scoring a run in the first and two in the second, before breaking the game open with an eight-run third inning and an 11-0 lead. Wabash County avoided being shut out by scoring a run in the fourth, but Crawford County got that run back in the bottom of the inning.
The game was stopped after the top of the fifth due to the 10-run rule.
Cole Waggoner led Crawford County at the plate with three singles and three runs scored, while Lance Wesner posted a pair of doubles. Alex Hermann singled twice and scored two runs, Kacey Cheek, Ryan Kirchoff and Ethan Williams added two singles and a run scored apiece and Matt Funk and Austin Wheeler each scored a run.
Kirchoff earned the win on the mound, allowing a run on two hits, while walking three and striking out 10 in four innings. Cheek struck out two batters in a scoreless inning of relief.
In their first game Saturday, Crawford County got past Lawrence County, 3-1.
The game was scoreless until the third inning, when Crawford County scored twice. Lawrence County got their lone run in the fifth, but Crawford County countered with an insurance run in the sixth and was able to hold on for the win.
Wesner led the offense with two singles, while Cheek and Parker Johnson posted a base hit and a run scored apiece. Bryston James and Alex Weber each added a single and Evan Hale scored a run.
Four pitchers combined to throw a one-hitter for Crawford County. Waggoner tossed the first inning, walking two batters and striking out one in a scoreless frame. Kirchoff was credited with the win, as he walked one and struck out three while pitching the second and third innings. Funk allowed a run on one hit, walked one and struck out one in two innings of relief, while Cheek struck out five and walked one in two innings of work to earn the save.
Crawford County ran out of steam though, as they were beaten by Mattoon later Saturday, 14-2.
Mattoon jumped on top with a run in the first, then scored three in the second and two in the third for a 6-0 lead. Crawford County plated two runs in the bottom of the third to make the score 6-2, but that is as close as they would get. Mattoon tacked on two runs in the fourth, then scored six times in the sixth to pull away for the win.
Kirchoff led Crawford County at the plate with a double and a run scored, while Hermann singled twice. Hale and Funk added a base hit apiece and Wesner scored a run.
Johnson took the loss on the mound, allowing four runs on two hits, walking four and striking out two in one and one-third innings. Cheek tossed four innings of relief, giving up six runs on four hits, walking three and striking out five, while Funk allowed two runs on a hit and a walk in one-third of an inning and Kirchoff gave up two runs on a hit and two walks in one-third of an inning.
Paris would beat Mattoon, 5-0, for the championship on Sunday, sending them to the Ohio Valley Tournament in Henderson, Ky., July 24-27.