MATTOON — When Gunner Theis’ seventh-inning flyball cleared the left field fence for a grand slam, tying the game at 7-7, it seemed Shelby County Post 289/611/725 had seized momentum from Lincoln.
Shelby trailed 6-0 after two innings and still cmae back to tie the game. But it wasn’t meant to be, as Lincoln put up five runs in the top of the eighth and outlasted Shelby County 13-7.
The loss ended Shelby County’s season at 26-13.
“We got back to where we needed to get to,” said Shelby County coach Tony Price. “It’s tough in the losers’ bracket if you don’t have a big pitching staff, which we don’t. We battled, we came back, that’s the way it goes.
After tying the game up, starter Ben Helton retired one batter then allowed two straight runners to reach base. He was pulled for Theis in relief.
Theis found out what the other end of a big homer feels like, as Robbie Meeker crushed a three-run homer to left.
The next three runners got hits, and Theis was pulled without recording an out in favor of Aaron White. Lincoln would score in the ninth to extend the lead, and clinch the game.
All in all, the hitting and pitching just ran out for Shelby County, as they were outhit 23-9 on the day.
“Lincoln, they hit the crap out of the ball, they have all tournament and we knew they were going to,” Price said.
Wildness struck Helton early in the second inning, as he allowed eight batters to reach base in a six-run inning. After one run had already scored, Helton hit a batter and walked a batter with the bases loaded to make it 3-0.
Mason Madigan took advantage of the full bags, hitting an three-run triple to left and push the Lincoln lead to 6-0.