BRIDGEPORT, Ill. — In a District 1 tournament that turned into a 3-game series between Mt. Carmel and Olney, dramatic rallies decided all three matchups between the 11-year-old teams.
Tuesday, Olney rallied from a 5-4 deficit by scoring three runs in the bottom of the fifth inning to overtake the Aces 11s, 7-5.
After a 19-0 win over Lawrence Co. Thursday that finished off the hosts after Olney recorded a 29-1 win one day earlier, it was Mt. Carmel’s turn to rally, scoring five runs in its’ final two at-bats to overcome a 4-1 deficit and even the series with Olney, 6-4.
Saturday’s winner-take-all final seemed headed in favor of the Aces, who led 6-1 heading into the bottom of the fifth.
Olney, aided by a grand slam by Gage Stevens, scored six times to take a 7-6 lead, then held off the Aces to steal away the title and a berth in the Section 1 tourney this week, also in Bridgeport.
The Aces sent three hurlers to the mound in the fifth to try and stem the tide, but Olney was able to benefit from four walks and three Aces errors.
Even a unique 1-2-5-6-5 triple play turned by the Aces in the third inning wasn’t enough.
Mt. Carmel, which outhit the Tigers, 9-3, played long ball much of the night. A home run by Thomas Stringfellow in the first put the Aces ahead early, 1-0.
A three-run blast by Tye Kanipe made it 4-0. Beau Stipp had an RBI triple and Alex Calverley also doubled in the frame.
Kanipe missed a second home run by a foot in the fifth, with a ball off the wall that limited him to a single. Mt. Carmel scored again to make it 6-1, setting the stage for Olney heroics to come.
Friday, the bottom half of the order starred in the Aces comeback.
Trailing 4-1 in the bottom of the fourth, Mt. Carmel scored three times to tie the game at 4-4. Base hits by Xander Willis and Trenton Wilkinson, in addition to two Tiger errors and one hit batter, produced the tying runs.
In the decisive fifth, Logan Rayborn doubled with one out, came home on a single by Stipp to put the Aces ahead to stay, 5-4. Stringfellow added an insurance run with an RBI single to score Stipp.