bot a leadoff base runner in each of the first five innings. Bentz walked, and a pitch from reliever hit Christopher, loading the bases with no outs.
Jacob Book’s single to left scored Latham to cut the Elkton lead to 5-3, and kept the bases loaded.
The lack of outs actually hurt Talbot on the next batted ball, a deep drive by Echternach sailing over the head of Crowley, and onehopping to the fence in leftcenter field.
With no outs, all three Talbot runners held until the ball nearly hit the ground. While Bentz scored easily from just 90 feet away, Christopher, running at second, couldn’t return there, since Book, behind him, was forced out.
While Crowley’s throw went through the cutoff man to the plate, too late to get Bentz, Elkton catcher Austin Goudeaux fired to his twin brother Andrew, the 8-2-5 putout at third retiring Christopher by force rule for the first out.
Ironically, had there been two outs, all three Talbot runners would likely have bolted on contact, Christopher probably scoring from second on what may well have have been a three-run double in that situation, but was in reality a fielder’s choice good for one RBI.
Book eventually scored, tying the game on a double by Trent Weems.
Elkton took the lead again in the fourth. Andrew Simpson’s one-out nubber halfway up the third base line rolled too fast for reliever reliever Cassell to catch, but too slowly for third baseman Baillif to field in time to throw to first for an out. An errant pickoff throw put Simpson at second, who then stole third, and came home a moment later on a passed ball.
In the bottom of the four th, the strong-armed, bearded Baillif got Talbot’s of fense going, lacing a double to left field.
“I knew when I got that hit, that there were a lot of good bats behind me,” Baillif said. “And I just knew that, one way or the other, we’d get that run in. I just knew that it would happen.”
Baillif was proven right. With one out, Bentz walked, and an out later, so did Book, loading the bases again for the District 6 champs.
Echternach then drew a pass, forcing in Baillif to tie the game. Simpson took over on the hill, and walked nine-hole hitter Haiden Rhodes, plating Bentz and giving Talbot its first lead of the night at 7-6.
Weems, who had been with his family in Virginia Beach, Va., on a vacation through Saturday, strode to the plate next, and was promptly hit by a pitch for the third time on the day, driving Book home with an insurance run.
Relievers Echternach, who came on with two out in the fifth to replace eventual winning pitcher Bentz, retired four of the five hitters he faced. Baillif, on to get the save, seemed well on his way, getting Andrew Goudeaxu to line out to right and punching out Austin Farrall.
“It looked like I had it, but then it got a little messy,” Baillif said. “Hit a guy, a walk, and they loaded the bases.”
Between the hit batter (Crowley) and the base on balls (to Tyler Uhde), Auston Goudeaux’s tapper back to Baillif was bobbled, putting the District 6 champs in a last-inning pickle.
But Baillif got some help from his defense, Andrew Lorman grounding into a fielder’s choice at third base for the game’s final out.
“I think we played good defense on the day, and that’s been really important for us,” Pritchett said. “I think we had only maybe one error all day. And with all the walks, the kids hit by pitches, a lot of errors would have just killed us.
“So it was good to see the guys play good defense,” Pritchett said. “It’s something they’ve been doing a lot this year.”
Despite dropping into the elimination bracket, Bill Lorman was still hopeful of his team’s chances.
“Your pitching plans pretty much go out the window when you lose in a doubleelimination tournament,” the Elkton manager said. “My attitude is always, ‘Win Today,’ but it’s so hard trying to do that, to think ahead to the next game, the next day.
“We’re going to keep fighting; the loser’s bracket is tough but not impossible,” Bill Lorman added, alluding to his team’s run through the loser’s bracket in 2015 — when Talbot beat them in the first round, and Elkton then won six straight games to take the state title. “I think we’ve still got a shot.”
District 5’s champs kept battling Sunday afternoon in the five-day tournament, winning 5-4 in their first elimination game and knocking District 7 champ St. Mary’s out.
Andrew Lorman got the win in Elkton’s second game, the team improving to 5-1, 2-1. The right-handed starter went six innings, yielding two runs in the win. Jeremy Mullins’s two-run single gave the D5 champs the lead for good, and Gavin Tereszcuk got the save.
Elkton takes on District 1 champ and tournament host Maugansville today at 6 p.m. in another elimination game; the winner plays Tuesday night against the loser of Talbot’s game against Berlin. Tuesday’s winner takes on the win bracket champ at 6 p.m. Wednesday, and must win twice that night to take the crown and reach the Senior Eastern Regional, which begins July 20 in Thorofare, N.J. Follow me on Twitter: