Shelby County cut the lead in the third. With two outs and two on, Hayden Cole hit a double to left-center, scoring both Jake Keown and Michael Baker. Cole went for third, and Lincoln catcher Cody Heinbreder’s throw to third was way wide, allowing Cole to trot home.
With the lead cut to three, Helton settled down, allowing just one run until the eighth on a sacrifice fly by Dane Eimer in the fifth.
Shelby’s big blow came in the seventh inning. Theis stepped up to the plate with the bags packed, following walks by Tyler Hendryx and Keown, and a double by Christian Vonderheide.
The homer was a no-doubter, and Shelby had a chance to take the lead. Luke Hatfield doubled and reached third with one out for Cole. Cole tried a suicide squeeze, but his bunt went mere inches in front of home. Hatfield got a great jump, but was at home right when Heidbrener picked up the ball for the tag.
“We tried to suicide and it didn’t work. I made a pitching change there and that didn’t work either,” Price said. “It seemed like everything I did in the last couple innings pretty fell back on my shoulders.”
After holding off the Shelby barrage, the Lincoln bats got back to work and put the game away. Shortstop Derek Himmel led the charge, going 6-for-6 with six singles, three runs and an RBI.
For Shelby County, Baker was the only player with more than one hit, going 2-for-5 with a run. Theis was 1-for-5 with the grand slam and Cole was 1-for-3 with two RBIs.
Helton took the loss, allowing nine runs on 15 hits in 7.1 innings. Theis gave up three runs on four hits without officially recording an inning.
Posts 289/611/725 finish the year strong, and should be strong again next year, losing Keown, Neil Yockey, A.J. Miller and Andrew Hawkins.