Clay tops the "Rock" 8-2Griffin K's 9, Young collects 3 hits
District 4 baseball fans were doing lots of "talking" prior to Sunday's winner's bracket final between defending champion Rockcastle County and host Clay County. Clay lost to "the Rock" in the district title game a year ago and local baseball fans were looking for a measure of revenge and they got it after an 8-2 decision late Sunday at the Ramsey Ballpark. Brandon Griffin pitched six strong innings for the winning 9-10 year old Clay All Stars, allowing just two unearned runs on three hits while striking out nine and walking three.
The first two innings were dominated by Griffin and Rockcastle starter Brandon Burkhart, with no hits allowed and a combined seven strikeouts. Clay was able to light up the scoreboard first, scoring two runs in the bottom of the third inning. John Hooker led things off with a walk and came around to score on a triple by Delbert Collins, Jr. Collins was awarded home plate when the relay throw to third base hit him in the leg and bounced into the "Rocks" dugout, for a 2-0 lead.
Rockcastle County tied the game in the bottom half of the fourth, when, with on out, Josh McKenny hit a slow roller along the first base line that Griffin fielded but his toss to first baseman Alex Hensley was mishandled when the runner apparently hindered his vision as he approached the bag. Short shop John Saylor, after fouling off four pitches, drilled a fast ball to left field fence for a triple, scoring McKenny. Saylor scored one out later on a looping single to center field by Brandon Burkhart for a 2-2 game.
Leading off the Clay County fourth, Brandon Griffin doubled to the fence in left center and scored on a triple by Josh England. England later scored after a wild pitch to post a 4-2 advantage. Rockcastle loaded the bases in the bottom of the inning, with two base on balls and a two out infield hit by John Saylor. But Griffin coaxed Grant Burdette to pop-up to the second baseman Tyler Young, ending the threat.
Clay (5-0) broke the game open in the top half of the fifth inning with four straight hits. Collins opened with a single and scored on Young's opposite field double down the left field line. John Wilson sent Young home with a triple over the head of the center fielder. Todd McDaniel then singled through the hole between the short shop and third base, scoring Wilson. McDaniel scored the game's final run on a wild pitch. Griffin set down the "Rock" in order in the fifth and sixth innings, to post a complete game victory.
The win puts Coach Billy Darrell Griffin's 9-10 year old all stars into the championship game. Clay, the only unbeaten team left in the double elimination tourney, will play the winner of Tuesday's loser's bracket final between Rockcastle County and Knox County.