---- — MATTOON — Shelby County Junior Legion Post 289/611/725 stumbled out of the starting gate Tuesday at the Mattoon Firecracker Classic, and early mistakes proved to be the difference. Shelby County's four first-inning errors contributed to a five-run opening frame from Moultrie-Douglas County in an eventual 8-2 defeat."I think it was a lot of nerves," Shelby County coach Jim Hutchinson said. "I've got a young team, a lot of kids that haven't played here before."The first-game jitters plagued Shelby County for the better part of six innings, closing with five total errors and eight walks by the pitching staff. The wooden bats were also hard to handle, as Shelby County closed with five hits, two coming in the sixth and final inning."We're not used to playing with wooden bats," Hutchinson said. "We played in one tournament earlier this year, played a doubleheader with them Saturday. It's just the mentality of getting used to playing with the wooden bats." Shelby County left two runners stranded to start the game, but leaving runners on the bags wouldn't be a problem for the opposition. Trevor Moore opened the game with a walk to Daltin Hoel, who reached second of a throwing error from Moore in an attempt to pick off the baserunner.Tommy Watson sent Hoel to third on a bunt single before Nick Bates plated the first Moultrie-Douglas run when a fly ball to right missed a Shelby County glove and fell harmlessly to the field. Zach Bates added a pair with a bases-loaded single to left three batters later to make it a 3-0 game. The final two runs of the first inning were scored off two more Shelby County errors."We always have one bad inning, this time it just had to be the start of the game," Hutchinson said. "That's the difference in the ballgame, they scored right off the bat."The lead was stretched to seven in the third. Moore walked three consecutive batters after getting Griffin Day to ground out to shortstop, closing his day on the hill after allowing six hits over 2.1 innings with two strikeouts and five walks.Nic Hutchinson hit Nick Bates on the first pitch of his relief duty to score a run, and Clayton Turner made it 7-0 with a sacrifice fly to center field.The tables turned on Moultrie-Douglas in the sixth, when Shelby County scored two utilizing a pair of errors. Tristan Warner brought Dylan Ohnesorge home on a ground ball to second that was fumbled and late to first. Trevor Easton sent a ground ball right back to second one batter later, where Dylan Hart again struggled to make the play for Moultrie-Douglas and Jacob Kramer crossed home plate.Held to three hits through the first five innings, Shelby County showed signs of life late, a trait coach Hutchinson said is not foreign to his strong-willed club."This team won't give up," he said. "They've been battling all year. We've had a couple of games where we've been down big and they've come back to make a ballgame out of it, surprised some people. I'll give them credit."Moultrie-Douglas ended the game in the next at-bat when Hart laid down a short grounder that induced a home-plate collision between Luke Armstrong and Shelby County's Kramer. The impact knocked the ball free of Kramer in his attempt to protect the plate for the 8-2 win.Shelby County looked for redemption in the second game of the day against Danville Junior Legion Post 210, but fell victim again to slow start.Danville opened up a 2-0 lead after the first inning, tacking on four more in the fourth en route to a 6-0 win.Shelby County closed with three hits in the second game, a single from Moore and two from Warner.After starting 0-2, Shelby County will look to regroup today against another pair of solid opponents in Rantoul and Macon County. The Rantoul game is scheduled for 10 a.m. at Lake Land College and Macon County will start at 1:15 p.m. at Mattoon High School.
Braden Layer can be reached at 217-347-7151, ext. 123, or at email@example.com
Game 1Shelby County		0 0 0	0 0 2	2 5 5Moultrie-Douglas	5 0 2	0 0 1	8 7 2WP-Rose	LP-HutchinsonShelby County: Moore (3 1B); Ohnesorge (1B); Warner (RBI); Easton (RBI); Overbeck (2B).Moultrie-Douglas: Watson (1B); N. Bates (2 RBI); Turner (RBI); Armstrong (2 1B); Z. Bates (3 1B, 2 RBI); Hart (1B, 2 RBI).
Game 2Shelby County	0 0 0	0 0 0	0 3 2Danville	2 0 0	4 0 x	6 3 1WP-Turner	LP-DeremiahShelby County: Moore (1B); Warner (2 1B).Danville: Jackson (RBI); Girton (1B, RBI); Berg (1B, 2 RBI); Vinson (2B).