Ashton Motte hit a walk-off single in the 10th inning to score Conner Hyatt and lift the Hilltoppers to a 5-4 win over the Trailblazers on Saturday at Tod Houston Field. Before his game-winner, Motte had gone 0-for-3 in his previous at-bats.
“You’ve just got to keep your head going and stay within as coach always says,” Motte said. “It was an emotional game against a good team and we survived with a big-time hit.”
His walk-off wasn’t the only big-time hit for the Hilltoppers (23-11). Others included Caleb Marmo’s solo home run in the fifth inning and Matthew Levi’s two-run homer to tie the game in the bottom of the seventh.
“I was just trying to get on base and all things went well for me,” Levi said about launching the fastball over center field. “We just kept waiting for the time to make a run at it and it happened at the end.”
A tough loss against the larger schools in the district tournament has been a common theme for Boone (18-11) in recent years. It’s hard to imagine one tougher to swallow than Saturday’s result as the Trailblazers led most of the game before Levi’s shot in the seventh.
Hunter Adams pitched six strong innings, giving up seven hits and two runs before being pulled for a pitch count. Brody Goodman went 3 1/3 innings, suffering the loss.
“Unfortunately for us, that was twice this year we’ve had a lead in the seventh and couldn’t hold it,” Boone coach Rob Hoover said. “I told our guys this game had a lot of heroes. I give them a lot of credit. They’re used to winning and they’re never out of it.
“I know Hunter didn’t want to come out of that game, but for the health of the kid, that (the pitch-count rule) is in place and it’s a good thing. He’s somebody we can rely on and he’s going to compete. If you can’t throw three pitches to a team like a Science Hill, Dobyns-Bennett or Tennessee High, they’re going to beat you bad. If you can keep them off-balance like he does, he will keep you in every game.”
Marmo had a home run and a double for Science Hill, but made one of the biggest plays on the defensive end. His throw from center field to home resulted in an out in the fifth inning when it looked like Boone might blow the game open.
Jackson Hill went 3-for-5 for Science Hill, while Marmo, Landon Slemp and Cade McCoy all had two hits. Levi finished with three RBIs.
Cole Torbett started for Science Hill and threw four innings. Landon Slemp went the next two before Drew Honeycutt hurled the next 3 1/3 innings. Garrett Gleason faced the final two batters and got the win.
“I’m glad we came out on top because either team could have won that game,” Science Hill coach Ryan Edwards said. “They have a great team and this is the most competitive district tournament we’ve had in the 12 years I’ve been here.
“I told Motte when he came up, ‘You’re the right man for this guy. You get your approach going. I told that to he and Jack Torbett because I thought they would both get a swing at it. A.J. got it done and that was a great at-bat.”
For the Trailblazers, Logan Rivers had a two-run home run in the second inning. He had two hits and scored two runs, while Cole Bishop had two doubles and a RBI.
Colby Backus produced an RBI and Adams helped his cause with a double. Coach Hoover said the team isn’t out of the double-elimination tournament and still have their sights on making the regionals. He promised they would fight until the final out.
Both teams certainly did that Saturday, making spectacular plays to force more play.
Science Hill’s Alex Elmore made an athletic catch in the eighth inning on a fly out to right field to deny Rivers a third hit. The next inning, with Science Hill loading the bases, Boone shortstop Robbie Storen dove and then flipped the ball to second baseman Anthony Edwards on a fielder’s choice to end the inning.
Dobyns-Bennett 4, Tennessee High 4 (suspended)
The Indians rallied with three runs in the bottom of the fifth inning and then rain forced the suspension of the late game until Sunday afternoon. It is scheduled to resume at 2:30 p.m.
Gavin Cross hit a three-run home run over center field to give the Vikings a 4-1 lead in the top of the second inning.
Dobyns-Bennett came back with Derek Thurston’s two-run home run in the fifth. Later in the inning, Jackson McDavid singled to right field and then Aaron Farley scored on an error by Peyton Fox to tie the game.
Rain started coming down after the inning ended and tournament officials decided to suspend the game and put a tarp over the field. With the rain becoming heavier, the decision was made to finish the game a day later.
Dobyns-Bennett starter Brogan Beckner went 1 1/3 innings before Sebastian Fugate came in to throw 3 2/3 innings of no-hit baseball. Zach Anderson went 4 1/3 innings for the Vikings before Mason Johns recorded the final two outs.