One more win is all Crawford County's 15-year old all-star team needed Sunday to claim the championship in the Babe Ruth Southern Illinois State Tournament at Mattoon and they had two chances to get it.
Crawford County had won their first two games of the tournament to put themselves in the driver's seat for the title, but that final victory would elude them twice.
They went down fighting though, but ultimately fell short, as Lawrence County rallied to beat Crawford County twice on Sunday to win the tournament by scores of 14-13 and 4-3 in 10 innings.
In their first game of the tournament Friday, Crawford County rolled past Wabash County, 12-2.
Crawford County took control early, scoring four runs in the first and were never threatened. Crawford County added three runs in the second and two more in the third for a 9-0 advantage, then tacked on three runs in the fifth to make the score 12-0. Wabash County plated two runs in the bottom of the fifth to avoid being shut out, but the game was stopped at the end of the inning due to the 10-run rule.
Hunter Goodwin led Crawford County at the plate with two singles, two runs batted in and a run scored, while Ryan Gill singled, knocked in two runs and scored twice. Tristan Woods singled and scored three runs, Daranger Cunningham singled and drove in a run, Wade Lassen and B.J. Wright each singled and scored a run, Dawson Maus added a base hit, Zander Laino scored twice and knocked in a run and Gage Kidwell and Cam Neese each scored a run.
Gill earned the win on the mound, allowing two runs on four hits, while walking four and striking out seven in five innings.
On Saturday, Crawford County beat Lawrence County in what ended up being the first of three meetings in the tournament, 6-3.
Lawrence County scored a run in the second inning to take an early lead, but Crawford County scored twice in the top of the third to take a 2-1 lead. Lawrence County would tie the game with a run in the bottom of the third, but Crawford County would take the lead for good with a two-run fifth. Lawrence County pulled to within 4-3 with a run in the bottom of the fifth, but Crawford County tacked on a pair of insurance runs in the seventh to seal the win.
Lassen led the offense with a single and two runs batted in, while Gill singled and scored three times. Maus posted a base hit and a run scored, Woods and Brayden Burtch added a single apiece, Goodwin scored twice and knocked in a run and Kidwell had a run batted in.
Laino earned the win in relief, giving up one run on one hit, while walking one and striking out one in three and one-third innings. Maus started and went three and two-thirds innings, giving up two runs on four hits, walking one and striking out one.
In Sunday's first game, each team got off to fast starts offensively, scoring five runs in their first at-bat. Crawford County grabbed a 6-5 lead after scoring a run in the second, but Lawrence County erupted for eight runs in the top of the fourth to take a 13-6 lead. Crawford County answered with three runs in the bottom of the inning to close the gap to 13-9, while Lawrence County added another run in the fifth to make the score 14-9. Crawford County responded with four runs in the bottom of the sixth and had the bases loaded with one out, but could not get the tying run across the plate, leaving the score at 14-13. Crawford County was then retired in order in the seventh to end the game.
Lassen led Crawford County at the plate with a double, a single, four runs batted in and a run scored, while Goodwin doubled, singled, scored three runs and knocked in a run. Gill posted a base hit, four runs scored and a run batted in, Burtch singled twice and drove in a run, Laino scored two runs, Maus added a run batted in and a run scored, Kidwell knocked in a run and Wright and Billy Aldrich each scored a run.
Gill suffered the loss in relief, allowing seven runs on seven hits while striking out three in two and one-third innings. Burtch started and lasted just two-thirds of an inning, giving up five runs on three hits with two walks and one strikeout. Kidwell tossed four innings of relief, allowing two runs on three hits and one walk.
The second championship game was much more low-scoring and was close throughout.
Lawrence County took an early 1-0 lead with a run in the first, but Crawford County answered with two runs in the third to take a 2-1 lead. Lawrence County evened the score with a run in the top of the sixth, but Crawford County regained the lead with a run in the bottom of the inning. However, Lawrence County rallied to tie the game again in the top of the seventh and force extra innings. Crawford County had a chance to win the game in the bottom of the seventh when Lassen doubled with one out, but the next two batters were retired, sending the game into extra innings.
Neither team did much in the eighth or ninth, but Lawrence County scratched out a run without the benefit of a run in the 10th to take a 4-3 lead. Crawford County got base hits from Burtch and Kidwell with one out in the bottom of the inning, but a fielder's choice and a pop out ended the threat and the game.
Laino led Crawford County at the plate with two singles and a run scored, while Goodwin posted a double and a single. Burtch added three base hits, Lassen doubled, Gill singled and scored a run, Kidwell and Woods had a base hit apiece and Wright scored a run.
Gill was tagged with the loss again in relief, giving up a run on one hit, while walking two and striking out two in three innings. Maus went the first seven innings, allowing three runs on eight hits, while walking two and striking out six.
With the win, Lawrence County advances to the Ohio Valley Regional in Marinette, Wisc., July 24-27.