On the fourth day of the 42nd District Tournament finals, Sayre and Scott County finally completed their battle.
Scott County defeated the Spartans 5-2 in a game that started Tuesday night but wasn’t completed until Friday evening because of a series of unfortunate circumstances throughout the week.
Lightning caused the contest to be postponed Tuesday in the bottom of the first inning with the score tied 0-0. Play resumed Wednesday night before heavy rain caused another postponement, this time with the Cardinals leading 2-1 in the bottom of the fourth inning. The game was scheduled to resume once more Thursday night but the continuation of rain earlier in the day made field conditions unsuitable.
Sunshine finally won out on Friday. With runners on the corners and one out, Scott County star Cam Hill kicked off the restart with a safety squeeze on which he ended up reaching base and scoring Kevin Van Valkenburg from third to increase the Cardinals’ lead to 3-1.
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“I contemplated doing it, not doing it, all that,” Scott County Coach Scott Willard said of Hill’s momentum-building hit. “I knew they were gonna be throwing a lefty so I decided on one of those rain days that I was gonna safety squeeze the very first pitch coming back. A lot of times in the third base box you don’t have the time to think about when you’re gonna steal somebody if you’re gonna bunt, but I had three days to think.”
That kicked off the biggest frame of the game for Scott County, which scored two more runs on an RBI single by Trace Wilhoite that caused a second run as the throw to first base went into foul territory.
It was the second straight district title for Scott County, also the defending champions out of the 11th Region. The Cardinals have won 16 straight games against district foes.
“It’s a real big accomplishment. That’s something we a lot of pride in,” said Cards freshman Cade McKee, who pitched shutouts in the fifth and sixth innings in relief of junior Sam Sutton, who officially took the win since he held a lead when the game was postponed Tuesday. “We love winning and sweeping our district cause it makes us feel like we’re the king.”
Sayre sought its first district title but had to settle for the runners-up trophy for the second time in three years. William Lain hit a leadoff home run to trim Scott County’s lead to 5-2 but Cards junior Zach Bennett retired the final three Spartans.
The Sayre seniors gathered for a players-only meeting in the outfield after the game. Coach Kevin Clary liked seeing that.
“They’re a special group of seniors, tight-knit,” Clary said. “They’ve been together and they know how special this is. They’re gonna try to get it together for next week so we can put together a special run.”
42nd District All-Tournament Team
Scott County: Jordan Fox, Brice Fryman, Cooper Robb, Sam Sutton
Sayre: William Lain, Sam Seahorn, Cameron Stiglich
Bryan Station: Corban Ellis, Noah Rodman
Henry Clay: Henry Molloy, Devyn Wilson-Cowan