Babe Ruth 15’s headed to state
By Sparta Live | July 14, 2011 12:00 am
Sparta’s 15 year old Babe Ruth All Star team finished second in the district team and, in the process, earned a spot in the state tournament.
The 10-team state tournament starts Thursday in Fayetteville. Sparta finished second behind Cookeville, who handed the local team both losses in the tournament played in Jamestown.
Sparta found their way back to the championship game Monday night against Cookeville needing to beat their archrivals twice to earn the title, but having already won a spot in the state. The local team gave the undefeated team all they wanted in the title game, but fell short by a score of 9-6.
Both teams were scoreless after one inning of play. Sparta took the lead with two runs in the second. Rhett Blair and Seth Davis both singled. Blair came around to score when Dylan Roberts was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded. Davis scored on a fielder’s choice by Andy Baksa.
Cookeville tied the score in their half of the inning with a two-out single driving in two runs. They would go on to take a 3-2 lead in the third.
Sparta retook the lead in the fourth with a pair of runs with two outs on the board. Ethan Roberts singled. Baksa was hit by a pitch. Daniel Winnett, Dustin Cole and Blair all took walks forcing Roberts and Baksa home. They left the bases loaded.
Cookeville came right back with two runs in the fourth with two outs on the board. A pair of walks followed by a double drove in the two runs. A manufactured run in the fifth gave Cookeville the 6-4 lead. With two outs, the batter recorded an infield single, stole second, moved to third on a wild pitch and scored on a passed ball following a strikeout.
Sparta refused to go away tying the game with two runs in the sixth. Baksa and Chaz Williams reached base safely and were driven across on a Blair single.
Cookeville rallied for three runs in the sixth and then held Sparta to one hit in the seventh securing the win.
Blair went the distance on the mound for Sparta and suffered the hard luck loss despite fanning 11 Cookeville batters.
Sparta found their way back to the title game after their first loss to Cookeville by defeating Lebanon 6-3 Sunday.
Dustin Cole picked up his second complete game win of the tournament. He allowed eight hits while striking out eight and walking only one.
After Sparta failed to score in the top of the first, Lebanon took the early lead with a run in the bottom of the frame.
Sparta scored two in the second as Williams and Davis crossed the plate on groundouts. They would go on to push out to a 5-1 advantage with three runs in the third. Hits by Baksa, Cole, Williams, Davis and Roberts keyed the rally.
Lebanon added two in their half of the third pulling to within two, 5-3. The teams went scoreless through the sixth. Sparta added an insurance run in the seven.
Brilliant defense by the Sparta team and the shutdown pitching of Cole held Lebanon scoreless over the final four innings and secured the win as well as a trip to the title game and the state.
Sparta is tentatively scheduled to play Franklin County Friday at 5 p.m. in Fayetteville.
The 14-year-old All Stars were eliminated in the district with a 10-9 loss to Livingston on Sunday. Sparta battled back from a 7-1 deficit only to come up one run short. Ty Cloyd got the start on the mound, but the coaches wound up using just about every eligible pitcher on their roster. Colton Hudgens, Ian Temple, Jacob Bryant, Tyler Brock and Darin Cole had solid nights at the plate. Garrett Turner had a key late inning hit, but Sparta fell to Livingston, a team they opened with a win over to start the tournament.