PLEASANTVILLE – What started out as a pitchers’ duel Monday on the Hilltop soon turned into a long night for Titusville’s 12-U Little All-Stars, as they fell to Knox-Rimersburg-Emlenton 10-1.
K-R-E broke open the game in the fourth inning, batting around the order and plating six runs as it copped the first-round contest of the District 25 tournament, 10-1.
Meanwhile, the K-R-E pitchers combined to allow only one clean Titusville base hit and stymied the locals, fanning 11 total batters. The winners also capitalized on Titusville throwing miscues that allowed extra K-R-E batters a chance as they built a lead to win it going away.
“We needed to hit the ball better and on defense we didn’t make plays at the right time,” said coach Phil Knapp. “I thought (Brett Schmidt) pitched well.”
Titusville’s starter Brett Schmidt and K-R-E counterpart Sebastian Link went toe-to-toe early as the teams battled to a 1-1 stalemate that lasted until the bottom of the third. The locals, who were the visiting team on the scoreboard, actually took an early lead in the opening half of the first canto without getting a base hit.
Schmidt drew a two-out walk in the first, and stole second before heading to third on the next pitch. He scored on an overthrow, putting Titusville up 1-0.
The lead didn’t last, with K-R-E matching the locals in their first time at bat. Lead-off batter Drew Keth opened its half of the frame with a double before moving to third on a throwing error. Trent Fleming’s fly to left was long enough to score Keth, and it was 1-1 at the end of an inning.
It stayed that way until the third, when K-R-E posted another tally, taking a 2-1 advantage into the fourth. Keth’s two-out RBI single scored Aiden Thoran and K-R-E never trailed again.
A total of 13 batters went to the plate in the five-run fifth. K-R-E got extra chances to hit thanks to two misplays on grounders that kept Titusville defense on the field long enough for the top of K-R-E’s order to reach the plate. They responded with a walk and three singles putting them up 8-1 at that point.
The winners tallied two more while Titusville put runners on base in the top of the fifth. Unfortunately for Titusville, they couldn’t muster the hit to bring home a run. K-R-E shut down the locals 1-2-3 in the sixth to end it.
Keth led the K-R-E offense going 3-for-4 while scoring two runs. Fleming also scored twice as five of K-R-E’s game total seven hits came in their last two times at bat.
Coleman Knapp had a clean single to left to keep the K-R-E pitchers from combining on a no-hitter.
Starter Link collected 10 of his team’s strikeouts and earned the win for K-R-E.
Titusville won’t be back in action until Thursday. The team won’t know their opponent until games are played Wednesday.