Jasper follows Egbert’s gem with one-run lossAugust 19, 2013
By STEVEN SMITH
Special to the Herald
MOSES LAKE, Wash. — Tanner Egbert was feeling very good on Saturday, and the Jasper 14-year-old Babe Ruth all-star team benefitted from that.
Clifton Park was feeling pretty good late on Sunday afternoon, and that left Jasper needing to battle back as the week rolls on.
The Ohio Valley regional champions split their first two games in pool play this weekend at the Babe Ruth 14-year-old World Series at Larsen Playfield in Moses Lake, Wash. Jasper had little trouble dismantling Baxter Springs, Kan., 8-0 on Saturday, but tumbled under a later rally by Clifton Park, N.Y., in Sunday’s 7-6 loss.
The split leaves Jasper needing at least one win in its final two pool play games to reach the single-elimination tournament, which runs from Thursday through Saturday. Jasper will face Bryant, Ark. — a team with several players from the 2012 13-year-old World Series champions — at 5 p.m. EDT today.
After getting a break from action on Tuesday, Jasper finishes pool play on Wednesday with an 11 p.m. showdown against the host team from Moses Lake.
In the tournament opener, Egbert came through with a pitching performance that put him in line as a possible selection to the all-defensive team at the tourney’s end. Egbert limited Baxter Springs to one hit while recording 13 strikeouts. He fanned 11 of the first 18 batters he faced.
Egbert’s bid for a no-hitter ended with two out in the sixth inning when Baxter Springs’ Kaid Karnes slapped a single over the mound, just past the Jasper pitcher and into center field. But Karnes didn’t get past first base as Egbert finished the game by striking out two hitters and getting two more to pop out.
“I saw the hit going past me, but I couldn’t reach it. I still felt really good about the game,” Egbert said. “Their pitcher was having a really good game, too, but I knew I was getting close to a no-hitter. There was just one pitch I wish I could get back.”
Baxter Springs starter Jared Dotson looked solid in the early innings of the ballgame — he struck out four of Jasper’s first five hitters. But it fell apart for Dotson in the third when he gave up a triple to Reece Kleinhelter, a single to Egbert and a walk to Andrew Schmitt to load the bases. Jared Sermersheim then tagged a three-run double that cleared the bases and put Jasper ahead to stay.
A single by Mason Thewes, two walks and two Kansas errors allowed Jasper to score twice in the fourth inning. Two more tallies in the fifth frame and a single run in the sixth closed the scoring for Jasper.
“Their pitcher had a good curve ball and we had to make some adjustments to make sure we were getting on top of the ball, but it worked out for us,” Jasper coach Jeff Egbert said. “We just played our game, and we put 11 hits with the fact that we committed just one error. Tanner showed us the best fastball and curve ball he’s thrown all year.”
Jasper appeared to be in control in Sunday’s contest, but that was before Clifton Park hopped from a 5-1 deficit to a 7-5 lead. Kleinhelter was holding his own on the mound, having surrendered six hits but just one run through four innings.
But Clifton Park finally dented Jasper in the fifth frame, tallying five hits that led to four runs and tied the game at 5. Clifton Park added two go-ahead runs in the sixth inning, and after Jasper pushed in a run in the top of the seventh, Clifton Park stopped Jasper’s rally by securing the game’s final out with the tying run on base.
Kleinhelter finished with two hits, while Schmitt smacked a two-run double in the third inning.
“We played a good ballgame, but we needed to be a little better,” Jeff Egbert said. “We discussed as a coaching staff pulling Reece out in the fifth inning, but he’s a gamer and we figured he could work his way out of trouble. He pitched well, but he had a bad streak.”
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