NWE All-Stars clench 12U championship

Published 10:28 pm Monday, June 25, 2012

The Northwest Escambia All-Stars defeated the Tri-County All-Stars Monday night in Atmore to win the 12U district tournament. Above NWE second baseman Chase Gifford waits for a throw as a Tri-County player is caught between second and third base.

In the bottom of the sixth inning, with two outs and two strikes on the batter, only one pitch stood between the Northwest Escambia Cal Ripken 12U All-Stars and a district championship Monday night in Atmore.

Holding on to a one-run, 9-8 lead, over the Tri-County All-Stars, NWE pitcher Daniel Mascaro fired the game’s final pitch, but instead of a catcher’s mitt, the ball found the end of a Tri-County bat and was sent sailing into left field to be snagged by Beau Bryan, bringing the game to an end and crowning NWE tournament champs.

The road to NWE’s championship began in their first game of the tournament Friday night, also against Tri-County. NWE dominated in their debut, scoring first off a run from Mascaro in the first inning. NWE would score four more runs before letting Tri-County on the board in the fifth inning. Runs from Adrian King, Trey Holder and Jason Fischer added to the NWE lead in the third quarter and Jacob McCullough added a run in the fourth to lead Tri-County 5-0. Jeremiah Woods and Blayne Miller scored runs in the fifth and sixth innings respectively for Tri-County but it would not be enough to pull out a win as NWE started the tournament off with a 5-2 victory.

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The two teams met again Monday night after Tri-County defeated the Atmore All-Stars over the weekend and this time the score stayed much closer.

Tri-County got on the board first in the bottom of the first inning with a home run from Jackson Moore, driving in  Miller and Seth Killam, but NWE bounced back with a run in the second inning after a double from McCullough drove in Chase Gifford. Late in the inning Bryan drove in Preston Milstead to bring NWE within a point, as they trailed Tri-County 3-2.

Tri-County added three runs bottom of the third inning with scores from Moore, Nathan Archer and Dutch Burkhead to give their team the 6-2 lead.

NWE battled back in the fourth inning, scoring two runs after a double from King drove home McCullough and Bryan.

Tri-County added one run in the fourth with a score from Jeremiah Woods, but a pop fly caught by right fielder Trey Holder and fired to second base, resulting in a double play, and a pop fly caught by King from the mound would bring the inning to an end.

NWE had their most productive offensive performance of the night in the top of the fifth. With the bases loaded, a single from McCullough would drive in Jason Fischer cutting Tri-County’s lead to two points, before  Jackson Bonner popped a fly ball into shallow right field, driving in Gifford and Milstead to tie the game at 7 all. Capitalizing off Tri-County errors, McCullough and Bonner would also make it to home plate without the aid of hits to give NWE a 9-7 lead.

Tri-County was able to mount the beginnings of a comeback late in the fifth with a score from Archer, but NWE’s defense would hold firm giving them the come-from-behind close victory in a nail biter of a championship game.

NWE will now begin preparation for the state tournament beginning Saturday, July 7 in Alexander City, Ala.

Members of this year’s district championship team are: Adrian King (No.2, first base/pitcher); Daniel Mascaro (No. 21, centerfield/pitcher); Trey Holder (No. 10, right field); Jason Fischer (No. 3, first base/pitcher); Chase Gifford (No. 24, second base); Preston Milstead (No. 11, shortstop); Jacob McCullough  (No. 22, catcher); Beau Bryan (No. 1, leftfield); Jackson Bonner (No. 9, third base).
The Tri-County All Stars finished the tournament as runners up with two total wins.