MATTOON — Even with a chance to win the game in the ninth inning, Shelby County coach Tony Price saw Mattoon was the best team at Grimes Park Wednesday night.Jake Keown hit into an inning-ending double play with the tying run on first, and Shelby County fell to Mattoon 7-4 for its first loss in District play.For much of the game, Shelby County had no answer for Mattoon starter Austin Warrem. The southpaw struck out 14 batters in eight innings, allowing three runs (one earned) on six hits. "You got to take your hat off to Austin, he pitched a heck of a game for them," Price said. "Jake pitched a heck of a game for us."Keown was up to the task of matching Warrem until the eighth inning. Tied at 2-2, Keown retired two of the first three batters and had runners on first and second with two outs. Neoga's Riley Walk stepped to the plate, and ripped a double to right-center field that scored two and gave Mattoon the lead. Walk scored on a Dustin Temple RBI single to make it 5-2."Riley came up, had a good clutch hit to right center," Price said. "His hit into right center was the big blow of the game, and we just couldn't overcome it."Shelby got a run back in the eighth after a Keown triple, and he scored on what would have been an inning-ending strikeout, but a dropped third strike and an error on catcher Rhett Farmer allowed Keown to score.Mattoon scored twice in the ninth on a wild pitch and a bases-loaded hit by pitch. Warrem was pulled in the ninth, leading Walk and Carter Price to walk four of the first five batters and push home a run to make it 7-4. Keown's grounder to third was fielded cleanly by Temple, he stepped on third and fired across the diamond to end the game."They fell right into our game plan .. in the last inning," Price said. "We were taking until we got a strike, and they just didn't throw strikes. We just happened to hit into a double play to end it, we had two big bats coming up."Shelby County struck first, scoring in the third inning on a two-out single by Keown that scored Neil Yockey, and an error in left field allowed Christian Vonderheide to scamper home as well. Mattoon responded in the fourth inning, scoring on a Walk groundout and a two-out RBI single by Temple to tie the game until the eighth.Keown took the loss, allowing seven runs (six earned) on 10 hits in eight innings. He struck out three.He also was 2-for-5 with an RBI, Vonderheide was 1-for-2 with an RBI and a run, and Michael Baker was 2-for-4. Walk was 2-for-5 for Mattoon with three RBIs and a run. Shelby County falls into the losers' bracket, playing today at 5 p.m. against either Lincoln or Paris.
Mattoon 000 200 032 7 10 2Shelby County 002 000 011 4 5 2WP - Warrem LP - Keown
Shelby County: Vonderheide (1-2, RBI, R, 3 BB); Keown (2-5, 3B, RBI, R); Cole (0-2, R, BB, HBP); Baker (2-4); Yockey (0-2, R, 2 BB, SB)