North Bullitt's Daulton Walls got in quite a pickle in the Rawlings/KHSAA State Baseball Tournament on Tuesday afternoon at Whitaker Bank Ballpark.
North Bullitt and Elizabethtown were tied 4-4 in the bottom of the sixth inning. Walls was on third base and pinch-runner Darren Harper was on second when Eagles Coach Brian Wise called for a squeeze play.
Tyler Mayberry whiffed on his bunt attempt, however.
Walls, who had broken for home, put on the brakes, but he was hung up in no-man's land in between bases.
"I thought, oh boy, I didn't know what to do," Walls said later. "I had to do everything in my power to not let our season end like that."
E-town catcher Zeke Pinkham ran Walls back toward third. As they neared the bag Pinkham threw wildly. The ball rolled away. Walls and Harper both scored to give North Bullitt a 6-4 lead.
The Eagles held on to win 6-5 for the school's first state tournament victory.
"We tell guys all the time that baseball is a funny game," Wise said. "We did not execute well, but sometimes teams make mistakes and you have to be aware enough to take advantage of those mistakes. And we did."
Josh Exton got the win for North Bullitt. He pitched into the seventh before giving way to Jacob Kelly, who got the final two outs.
Exton, who threw 112 pitches, gave up three hits, struck out eight and walked five. E-town had the tying run at second with two outs, but Kelly ended the threat with a strikeout.
"We wanted to give (Exton) a chance to finish it," Wise said. "He's a competitor. He's a big-time football player who's been in big situations before.
"Hopefully later this week we'll get a chance to run him back out on the mound."
Senior shortstop Justin Stinson had two hits and three RBI for North Bullitt. His two-run triple in the fourth gave his team a 4-1 lead.
E-town sophomore shortstop Hunter Sullivan hit his first home run of the season, and also drove in a run with a sacrifice fly. Sullivan came on in relief of Cody Bridges in the fifth and wound up taking his first loss in 13 decisions this season.
Conner 12, Boyd County 0: Everything was clicking for Conner as it cruised to a six-inning mercy-rule victory.
The Cougars got a shutout pitching from starter Cameron Ross (8-0) and relievers Nick Craddock and Blake Hart. They limited Boyd County to four hits and combined for eight strikeouts and three walks.
Ross, who bats leadoff, sparked the offense by collecting three hits, three runs and an RBI. Blaise Ostertag, No. 2 in the order, also had three hits, including a double and triple, scored twice and knocked in a run.
Hart contributed a three-run triple, and Ryan Ward had two hits and three RBI.
The top five batters in the Cougars order accounted for 10 hits, 10 runs and nine RBI.
Ross said he was happy to see Conner's offense in high gear against Boyd County.
"I think our defense and our pitching will keep us in it, but if we bring bats anything like we did today, we'll definitely be able to do what we need to do," Ross said.
Conner Coach Brad Arlinghaus considered it an ideal scenario that he was able to lift Ross after four innings so he'll be able to bring him back later in the week.
"We'll take a mercy rule anytime, but we were hoping to get up and save (Ross) a little bit," Arlinghaus said. "He had some shoulder problems earlier in the season, so we're always very aware of that, and it's always good to get him out."
St. Xavier 2, Union County 1: After watching No. 1 Tates Creek fall to Johnson Central, No. 3 St. Xavier sidestepped an upset in a game that didn’t start until 10 p.m. and didn’t end until 11:45.
The Tigers pushed across a run in the sixth to win 2-1.
Union County pitcher Kyle Griffin and his 89-mph fastball made it tough on the Tigers. The senior right-hander had 10 strikeouts and gave up four hits in six innings.
St. X got a run in the first when Andrew McCormick reached on an error and scored on Hayden Ford’s single.
Union County couldn’t muster anything off St. X starter Connor Underwood until the sixth. Jake Main pounded a double to deep right, and he scored when St. X booted a ground ball.
The Tigers pushed across what proved to be the winning run in the bottom of the sixth. Hayden Ford reached on a fielder’s choice and stole second. With one out, Brandon Blaser hit a line drive that Union County third baseman Micah Brown snagged.
Brown tried to double up Ford at second but his throw was off target.
Miles Lee followed with his own hard shot to third. Brown got his glove on it but the ball bounced into left field, and Ford scampered home from second.
St. X advances to play Johnson Central in Thursday’s quarterfinals.
North Bullitt 6, Elizabethtown 5
Elizabethtown 010 003 1—5 3 2
North Bullitt 020 202 x—6 8 3
Cody Bridges, Hunter Sullivan (5) and Zeke Pinkham. Josh Exton, Jacob Kelly (7) and Chance Egnor. 2B—Kelly (NB). 3B—Justin Stinson (NB). HR—Sullivan (E).
Records: Elizabethtown 28-8; North Bullitt 29-10
Conner 12, Boyd Co. 0
Conner 130 044—12 14 0
Boyd County 000 000— 0 4 3
Cameron Ross, Nick Craddock (5), Blake Hart (6) and Hart, Dalton Harshbarger (6). Billy McCoy, Tanner Bryan (5), Slone Alley (6) and Jacob Barnwell. 2B—Ross (C), Hart (C), Ryan Ward (C), Blaise Ostertag (C). 3B—Ostertag (C).
Records: Conner 26-9; Boyd County 22-16
St. Xavier 2, Union County 1
Union County 000 001 0—1 3 1
St. Xavier 100 001 x—2 4 1
Connor Underwood, Scott Spurlock (6) and Dalton Dedas. Kyle Griffin and Jake Main. 2B–Main (UC).
Records: Union County 27-13; St. X 27-10