BOSWELL — In the opening round of the Boswell Baseball Tournament, the hosts bumped neighboring Bennington to the loser’s bracket.
It felt like a hard-fought game in the nightcap, but the Scorpions claimed a 15-6 win with the fifth-inning run rule applied. Due to rain earlier in the day, the game slated to start at 6 p.m. actually got underway at 7:40. Even cut short by two and one-half innings, it stretched a full two hours.
The underdogs struck first. Before we could see lightning in the distant southern sky, Bennington had blasted two out of the park.
Leadoff Trevor McWilliams had a 2-1 count when he swung and sent the ball over at left-center. (Good day for him, getting his first home run, although several have been close, and earlier winning first at the SOSU curriculum contest in geometry.) And after a Dillon Clark strikeout, Cameron Hammond had a 2-0 count when he hit one over the right-field fence.
Next up was Zachary Hardesty, who reached on a walk, but William Minyard flied out to second and Anthony Perez struck out to close the frame.
Blain Brown began Boswell’s first turn at the plate with a walk. He stole second and advanced to third when McKenna Pierce grounded out. Brown scored when third baseman Clark’s throw to first was a little off the mark to get Cameron Roberts. Then, Roberts was sent to second on a balk. Tracy Brown got to a full count before he was walked.
That set the stage for Dusty Belvin’s two-RBI triple that ripped past the infield and into right. He scored on a single by Caleb Brown, who stole second and took another base with an error on the play to get him. He wasn’t there long, making it home on a sacrifice fly to right-center by Trevor Phillips. Blake Shults grounded out to the first baseman to leave it 5-2 Boswell after one inning of play.
Bennington was blanked in the second inning.
Then, Brenton Berryhill sent a shot up the middle that reached deep centerfield for a single. Roberts dropped one in right field, close to the foul line, and made it a double with an RBI. Tracy Brown was walked and Belvin hit by a pitch to load the bases, but Bennington was able to shut down the threat.
Clark battled on full count to reach on a walk before Hammond got to go to base on four consecutive balls. Boswell pulled Phillips from the mound and brought in Berryhill from right field. Following a strikeout by Zachary Hardesty, Minyard walked to load the bases.
Anthony Perez laid down a bunt that had Berryhill diving to catch. All the pitcher got for his effort were grass stains and dirt. Clark scored and Perez, a quick freshman, was safe at first. With two more walks in the third frame, Minyard put a score on the board. And Perez used his speed to steal home. The Bears were within one, 6-5, after the top of the third.
But Boswell put up two more in the bottom of the stanza on a squeeze bunt by Blain Brown and a double by Pierce to make it 8-5.
McWilliams hit a double in the fourth and was scored on a sacrifice fly by Hammond in the fourth inning, ending all Bennington scoring.
Boswell had a big fourth inning, batting around. The Scorpions recorded six hits in the frame, including a triple by Tracy Brown. The seven runs wasn’t enough to end the game then, but holding the Bears scoreless in the fifth let the 15-6 stand as a final score.
Boswell, ranked No. 13 in Class B, moved to 5-4 on the season. Bennington fell to 2-5.
The Scorpions had eight walks on the books and used three pitchers. Shults took over with two outs in the thrid inning.
“Our pitching’s gotta be better than that,” coach Alan Cartwright said.
“It was a good thing they walked a few too and we put the ball in play a little bit more. We’ve been swinging the bats. It was just a little disappointing on the pitching today. It’ll be better. Some of these guys hadn’t had work in a little while either,” he said, referring to spring break.
“Any win is a good win, even if it’s ugly. We hit the ball well enough to win. We just didn’t throw well enough. We were fortunate.”
Bennington coach Tommy McWilliams said, “We played good for four innings against a team that went to state in the fall.
“That’s the longest that freshman (Anthony Perez) has pitched this year. Until that fourth inning, we did pretty good, we played pretty solid.
“We’ve got to stop rushing plays. That’s our biggest problem defensively. We had a few routine balls that, if we just took our time, and fielded the ball and transfer before we tried to make the throw, the score’s a lot different than that. We gave them a lot off of routine plays. And then, they took advantage of their opportunities and hit some good balls after we put guys on base on routine stuff.
“A lot of room to work, but I was proud of them. That’s probably the best game we’ve played, even better than the two wins we’ve got.
“It’s encouraging. We lost six seniors who started last year. My outfield’s basically three kids who are two freshmen and a junior, but none of them has played much baseball at all.”
When asked about being aggressive with his base running and stealing home, McWilliams said, “When you’re the underdog, you’ve gotta do stuff like that to scrap and try to stay in the ballgame.”