CHICAGO - With a day off from the state baseball tournament on Sunday, many from Mt. Carmel’s 11-year-old team spent the afternoon at U.S. Cellular Field watching the White Sox play Kansas City.
Perhaps it took the sting off of Saturday’s 5-4 loss to Horner Park, highlighted by a play at the plate that extended the game and allowed Horner to finish off a 3-run rally to the win.
But, wait a minute. These are kids. “I don’t think it phased them at all,” said manager Craig Halbig of the call that didn’t end the game and allowed the tying run to score. “We’ll bounce back all right.”
The loss sent Mt. Carmel to the loser’s bracket in the double elimination tournament. They now hope to spend the week in Chicago playing their way back to the winner-take-all game on Thursday.
Mt. Carmel will once again play Streator tonight at 6 p.m., but this time in an elimination game. The 11s rallied to defeat Streator, 7-5, in the opening game of the tourney on Friday.
Mt. Carmel was one out away from posting a 4-2 win over Horner on Saturday afternoon, when a base hit scored one run. Horner then sent the tying run around third, and the throw to Mt. Carmel catcher Chris Whetstone was on the mark. A good video of the play circulating on Facebook shows a bang-bang play, with the tag up on the body of the sliding runner as his legs below hit the dish. Safe was the call.
“It’s over and done with,” said Halbig of the play.
An out call would have given Mt. Carmel a 4-3 win and a 2-0 record in tourney play. As it was, the game went on, tied at 4-4, and Horner won it a moment later on a base hit.
For the second straight game, Mt. Carmel came out of the gates strong. Clayton Halbig, Bret Doan and Chevvy Wood scored runs in the first as the 11s bolted to a 3-0 lead. Connor Lane’s two-run single was the biggest hit of the inning.
Doan smacked his first home run of the tournament in the sixth, a solo blast that gave Mt. Carmel the 4-2 lead it carried into the decisive bottom half.
Streator, after the loss to Mt. Carmel, bounced back to eliminate Hegewisch, 12-11, leaving four teams left in contention. Naperville Continental is the lone unbeaten at 2-0, and is off until Wednesday. Mt. Carmel, Horner Park, and Streator are all 1-1.
Trailing 5-3 against Streator Friday, Mt. Carmel scored two runs in the fifth to tie the game, then added two in the six to pull out the win.
A 2-run single by Drew Gill in the fifth tied the game, 5-5. Then, Chris Whetstone and Adam Stoneberger added the go-ahead runs for Craig Halbig’s team.
Gill, who started on the mound, “pitched outstanding,” according to Halbig. He was relieved by Stoneberger.
Doan was 3-for-3 at the plate, and helped get things off to a fast start when Mt. Carmel scored three runs in the first. Gill was 2-for-3.