Talbot returns to states
Cassell pitches complete game as win-bracket champs repeat as district titlists
Talbot 14 — Tri-City 4
HURLOCK — The defending District 6 champion Talbot senior league all-star baseball baseball did it again this year, defeating Tri-City, 14-4, in five innings on Saturday to return to the state tournament.
Left-hander Jaden Cassell got the win, going the distance and finishing strong, with a six-pitch fourth inning, and an eight-pitch fifth. Talbot pounded out 10 hits, as it improved to 3-0, defeating all three of the other squads in district play during the past week to take the title.
“We hit the ball well, up and down the lineup,” Talbot manager Albert Pritchett said. “I think this was a total team effort. Jaden pitched well, [and] finished well.”
Talbot opened with four runs in the bottom of the first. Jimmy Halterman began the rally with a one-out triple over the head of TriCity center fielder Max Presley, and Ryan Farr singled to make it 1-0.
Keegan Bentz reached on an infield error, and Joe Smoloski drove in Farr and Bentz with a base hit, making second, and then third, as the throw home went to the backstop.
Cassell capped the rally with a single to left that scored Smoloski.
Tri-City answered in the top of the second.
Clint Meekins, the starting pitcher for the loss-bracket champs, reached with one down on a mishandled grounder to third. Presley singled and Ryan Cheesman walked to load the bases.
Cassell struck out the next hitter, and Jerome Thomas pounded out an infield hit to plate Meekins. Another error, on a grounder off Ethan Bloodsworth’s bat, made it 4-2, and a bases-loaded walk to J.B. Lewis scored Cheesman to pull Tri-City to within 4-3.
Cassell got the next batter to ground out to second, though, ending the inning and leaving the bases loaded.
“We never gave up, even late,” Tri-City manager Steve Lieske said. “We had five kids quit the team, and... today we only had nine, but the kids we played never stopped trying.
“Talbot hit the ball well; they’re a good. I tip my cap to them,” Lieske added. “But we’re still making errors, not playing as well as we should. We need to be more like them.”
Talbot extended its lead in the bottom of the second, a Farr sacrifice fly, Bentz double, and Smoloski single making it 7-3. Tri-City responded in the top of the third with a single tally, Tyler Windsor walking, then scoring on a two-out Cheesman single.
Talbot’s bottom of the third put the game nearly out of reach.
Logan Baillif led off with a base hit, and was forced at second on a grounder by Sam Weisman. Jacob Book followed and hit a sharp ground ball to second, which was fielded cleanly, but thrown wide at second; Weisman made third, and Book cruised into second on the play.
Luke Cummings (2 for 4) singled to right field, scoring both runners, then stole second. Halterman reached safely when another throw from short was dropped at first base, then stole second.
Farr singled to right field, scoring Cummings. Halterman dashed home as well, just ahead of the throw, which bounced off him and into the air between him and Tri-City catcher Bloodsworth.
As he stood up after sliding in to score, Halterman reflexively grabbed the ball, and tried to hand it to Bloodsworth; it fell to the ground, where Bloodsworth grabbed at it. Meanwhile, Farr, at second on the throw home, broke for third, but then the ball was ruled dead by the home plate umpire.
Farr was sent back to second and, after a brief conference, both runs were ruled to have counted. Since Halterman touched the ball after he scored, it was ruled that his interference — wellintentioned though it was — hindered Bloodsworth’s attempt to retire Farr, who was ruled out.
Talbot didn’t score again that inning, leaving it 11-4.
Cassell retired Tri-City in order in the fourth and fifth, using just 14 total pitches.
Talbot scored once in the fourth, and twice in the bottom of the fifth to finish the rout-rule win.
The final run came in the form of Bentz. Drawing a one-out walk, he stole second, made third when the throw to get him went into center field, and scored a moment later on a wild pitch as Cassell batted.
Talbot begins its state tournament appearance beginning July 9 in Salisbury at Pemberton Park. Follow me on Twitter:
The Talbot Senior League all-star team poses with its championship banner on Saturday after defeating Tri-City, 14-4, to repeat as District 6 champs.