First National Bank was only one win from a regular-season title in the 13-15 boys Babe Ruth title Monday night and last-place Rotary Club was the last team standing in the way. Instead of First National Bank celebrating, Rotary Club changed the complexion of the league standings.
Rotary Club pulled a major upset as it beat First National Bank 5-2 to to shake up the standings.
Dylan Ward, Trevor Collins and Keaton Welch combined to hold First National Bank to two hits and two runs as Rotary Club doubled its win total this season.
Ward earned the victory, pitching four shutout innings and striking out three in the process. Welch notched the save by tossing the final three innings after Collins pitched to the first three batters of the fifth inning.
Rotary Club never trailed as it took the lead in the first inning and never relinquished it. Jamall Vaughn began the game with a single and scored later on an error. Ward also scored in the first on a wild pitch as Rotary took a 2-0 lead against First National Bank.
First National Bank sliced the lead in half when Luke Melton scored on a ground out by Tristan Shaddox, but Welch pitched Rotary out of a jam to preserve the lead.
Rotary added to its lead in the bottom of the inning courtesy of another First National Bank error. After Skylar Walker drew a walk from Dustyn Kilgore with two outs and stole second, Jamey Jennings lofted a pop fly into left field. The ball was dropped and Walker scored to push Rotary ahead 3-1.
The back-and-forth scoring continued in the sixth inning when Kilgore reached on an error and scored on a single by Eli Eldridge. Welch once again kept Rotary in the lead though as he forced a ground ball back to the pitcher for the final out of the sixth while the tying run was on base.
Caleb Johnson came through with the biggest hit for Rotary in the sixth inning when he gave his team some breathing room. Noah Kuykendall had reached base on an error and Welch joined his teammate on base after being hit when Johnson stepped to the plate. With both teammates in scoring position, Johnson drilled a single that plated both and made it 5-2.
It would be more than enough as Welch struck out two batters in the top of the seventh, including Cole Godwin for the game’s final out.
Johnson’s big single in the sixth was part of a two-hit night as he led Rotary at the plate. Ward and Micah Woodlee added one hit each. Godwin and Eldridge had the only two hits for First National Bank.
With the win, Rotary had to play again Monday as the Babe Ruth tournament began.
Ethan Mikkola’s game-winning double in the bottom of the fifth completed a furious comeback for Sun Drop as the team downed Rotary 6-5.
Playing back-to-back games didn’t seem to bother Rotary when the team took a 4-0 lead entering the bottom of the fourth, but Sun Drop stormed back late.
Errors and walks helped Sun Drop tie the game with four runs in the fourth as Mikkola, A.D. Majors, Devin Terry and Ben Sweeton all scored.
Instead of folding, Rotary battled back with a run in the fifth inning to retake the lead. Jamey Jennings, who pitched the entire game for Rotary, began the fifth with a single and would score later on an error on the Sun Drop second baseman.
Time expired in the fifth inning, leaving Sun Drop a final at-bat to win. With one out, Jesse Jones gave the team life by drawing a walk. Jones reached scoring position when he swiped second base, giving Majors a chance to tie the game.
Majors obliged with a game-tying double to left field, making it 5-5 with Mikkola coming to the plate. With the team’s faster player on second, Mikkola only needed to a hit in the grass to win the game. That’s exactly what Mikkola did as his double went into left field and Majors scored standing up to win the game.
Majors earned the win. Jones started the game for Sun Drop and pitched four innings. Jennings took the loss for Rotary.
Majors finished 3-for-3 at the plate to lead Sun Drop to complete his stellar night at Edley Newman Field. Mikkola and Daniel McGee added one hit each. Ward, Walker, Jennings, Welch, Johnson and Hernandez had hits for Rotary.
The Babe Ruth tournament is set to finish Monday, July 8.