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Marathon men

Nelson’s single in the 11th gives Northern 1-0 victory

Posted: June 26, 2012 11:28 a.m.
Updated: June 27, 2012 5:00 a.m.

Three hours, more than 10 and a half innings, 12 hits, nine pitchers and 39 strikeouts after it started, it all ended when Mikael Nelson’s chopper to second base plated Brett Jacobs with the only run in KC Northern’s 1-0, 11-inning win over Bishopville.
The marathon contest was the middle game of Monday’s opening round of the Sub-District A Dixie Youth All-Star tournament at Woodward Park in Camden. The late start to the scheduled 6 p.m. game, paired with its length, made for a starting time of near 10:30 p.m. for the evening’s capper -- won by Lamar over KC East, 6-4. The finale of the tripleheader finished moments before midnight.
KC Northern, which faced KC West in Tuesday’s winners’ bracket pairing, survived a pair of close calls as Bishopville left the bases loaded in the eighth and had runners on second and third in the 11th, only to come up empty on each occasion.
For its part, Northern missed a chance to end the scheduled six-inning affair in the bottom of the seventh which opened with Cam Holley lacing a double off the fence in right. He was bunted over to third only to have Bishopville’s Gavin Melton, who worked 6.1 innings of relief while giving up two hits while fanning 11, strike out the next two batters.
Northern, one of four teams from the host county in the six-team tourney, saw Bishopville use a Nicholas Laney infield single and a bunt single from T.J. Felder to open the eighth off Holley, the third of four KC Northern relievers. Holley then fanned the next two batters before Drew Watson’s nubber along the third base line loaded the bags. Holley, though, would end the threat with a punch out.
Bishopville threatened again in the top of the 11th off Michael Williamson, who was in his first and only inning of work. Singles by Reid Watkins and Bryce Barrett kicked off the inning before Watkins was snuffed out at third when Gus Allen fielded a ground ball and stepped on the bag for the first out. Williamson, who picked up the win, would retire the next two batters on called third strikes.
Brett Jacobs opened the home portion of the 11th by working his way for a walk he would then take second on a passed ball. With one gone, Robert Lackey walked. The two runners would advance into scoring position on a wild pitch, bringing Nelson to the plate. Nelson sent a ball to Laney at second base, but there was not a play at the plate as Jacobs came home with the night’s lone run while Nelson crossed the bag to set off a celebration amongst his teammates.
Neither side managed to advance a runner beyond second base through the first four innings. Northern starter Christopher Butler gave Bishopville fits and he struck out 10 batters while allowing a leadoff single to Melton to open the second. The right-hander was pulled in favor of William Cobb after issuing a walk to open the fifth.
All Cobb would do was to work three innings of one-hit ball with four strikeouts before giving way to Holley, who worked innings eight through 10, scattering three hits while retiring six batters on strikes.
Combined, the four Northern pitchers struck out 22 while allowing seven hits with six walks.
Until the eighth, the lone Bishopville threat came in the fifth as Barrett walked and was left hanging on third as Cobb recorded back-to-back strikeouts to get out of trouble.
KC Northern’s first scoring opportunity came in the seventh after Holley’s two-bagger, which was the lone extra base hit of the evening. The hosts would not get a runner past first base until the 11th.
Melton had the best night of five Bishopville throwers, who allowed KC five hits while setting 17 batters down on strikes.
Recording hits for the winners were Will Farmer, Lackey, Nelson, Holley and Cobb.

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