BROOKSVILLE – Before their get started of the season, Bracken County devoted it to their junior left fielder Clayton Thompson.
On Thursday, it was once Thompson saving the Polar Bears season.
Diagnosed with Guillan-Barre syndrome and in a health center mattress as overdue as February, Thompson’s three-run unmarried within the 9th inning towards Augusta Thursday night time tied issues up at 4, Caleb Sutton’s sac fly RBI profitable the sport for the Polar Bears within the thirty ninth District Tournament semifinals, 5-4.
“This is why we play the game. Clayton absolutely loves to play baseball. Brought tears to my eyes when he got that hit,” Polar Bears trainer Rob Krift stated. “We’re wearing shirts for him that say “20 strong” on them. They simply walked the bases loaded, threw him one thing down the center and he didn’t omit it. So pleased with him, it’s implausible.”
It didn’t come simple for the Polar Bears even though, driven to the edge through an Augusta group nonetheless on the lookout for their first win over county rival Bracken County since 1982.
Keeton Bach shined at the hill, the Panthers protection stood out in the back of them they usually had been sport for 8 and a part innings.
It regarded love it was once going to occur, the Panthers tacking on 3 runs within the best of the wild 9th inning after the 2 performed to a 1-1 stalemate after one inning of play.
First it was once Grayson Miller laying down a sacrifice bunt with runners on 2nd and 3rd and one out, however an overthrow allowed Gage Scudder to attain from 2nd to offer the Panthers a 2-1 lead.
Kason Hinson was once then deliberately walked, mentioning more youthful brother Kylan Hinson with the bases loaded. Kylan deposited a pitch into left box, scoring two extra runs to offer the Panthers a 4-1 lead and an eruption from the Panthers dugout. After the part inning ended, they had been 3 outs from their first regional match look since 2016 and primary win over the Polar Bears in 40 years.
But the Polar Bears had different plans. Ross Lucas led the ground of the 9th off with a unmarried, Josh Hamilton then delivered a one-out unmarried, later stealing 2nd to position runners on 2nd and 3rd to carry Thompson up.
“Twenty Strong” shirts had been nonetheless being worn through the Polar Bears and may well be noticed Thursday, Thompson’s quantity made right into a T-shirt to honor him. He was once cleared to play his first sport on April 29 towards…Augusta. He’s been essentially the designated hitter since his go back as he works his as far back as complete energy.
“I honestly have no words. I was in a hospital bed not even three months ago and couldn’t move at all,” Thompson stated. “Just want to thank God, my whole family, the team, coaches, the doctors and everybody that brought me here today.”
Sutton then knew he had a role to do after failing to put down a bunt and delivered.
“Coach suggested me to hit it to the outfield and that’s exactly what I did. They expected me to bunt and I just smacked it,” Sutton stated. “Just had to be aggressive as possible and sure as heck was and it won us the game.”
While it’s marked a loss at the agenda and a season ender, Augusta has confirmed as soon as once more they’re to not be taken calmly anymore. They performed two one-run ballgames with the Polar Bears this season and didn’t get run-ruled through Mason County for the primary time in over two decades on May 9 in a 6-2 defeat.
The Panthers introduced their arrival and simply wish to get that massive victory to get them over the hump. While the loss might sting, the long run is brilliant, most effective 3 seniors at the roster and two in Thursday’s lineup in Kason Hinson and Evan Brooks along side Cody Frederick.
“I told you at the beginning of the year, I thought you’d see a few more wins and we did. Six wins probably the most we’ve had in a while and I told you I thought we put together a lot more competitive product on the field. That’s a testament to those kids, they’ve worked their butts off,” Panthers trainer Robin Kelsch stated. “They’ve heard people ridicule them for years about our baseball program and us not to deserving to be there, but I’m gonna tell you and I know you want to win in a situation like that and that’s the ultimate goal, but they might not realize it at this time, but they earned a lot of respect tonight.”
Kelsch is aware of their time is coming, evaluating a identical loss at the hardwood when a shot rolled off the rim towards Mason County within the 2012 district championship.
“No one ever dreamed we’d beat Mason County and a shot rolls off the rim. We don’t win that first year but the kids start believing and they brought home two districts the next two years. I fully expect good things from these kids the next few years. I no longer think this is a two-team race and that’s no disrespect to Mason or Bracken,” Kelsch stated.
Bach capped off a forged season at the hill on Thursday as a freshman, going the space and permitting simply 4 hits throughout the first 8 innings whilst placing out 9.
Hamilton was once simply as just right within the different dugout, going seven innings, permitting 3 hits, an unearned run and placing out 12 with 4 walks issued.
Hank Krift were given the win in reduction.
They had been set to stand Mason County within the nightcap for the championship, however for the second one directly night time, Mother Nature had different plans as lightning within the space suspended the sport within the best of the second one inning.
They’ll pick out up from there on Friday, the rating at 0-0 with one out and the Polar Bears as much as bat. Game is predicted to restart at 6 p.m. Bracken will likely be slightly shorthanded at the hill, Hamilton and Krift unavilable because of pitch-count laws.
They’ll in all probability hand the ball to Ross Lucas within the continuation of the sport whilst the Royals had Eli Porter at the bump for the primary 4 outs of the sport and nonetheless eligible to pitch having thrown justy 13 pitches.
POLAR BEARS 5, PANTHERS 4 (9 INNINGS)
AUGUSTA — 100-000-003 — 4-5-1
BRACKEN COUNTY — 100-000-004 — 5-7-2
RBI — (A) Kylan Hinson 2 (BC) Thompson 3, Sutton
R — (A) Kason Hinson, Scudder, Young, Miller (BC) Combess, Lucas, Hamilton, Krift, Sharp
WP — Krift. LP — Bach.
Records: Augusta 6-13, Bracken County 14-12