In yet another meeting of two rivals on Thursday, a quick start allowed Bowling Green East to edge past Owensboro Southern’s 12U All-Star team for a 3-1 victory in the District 1 Tournament championship.
A couple of doubles allowed the leadoff runner to score, and another pair or runs were added on a two-out error by Southern. Owensboro had not allowed a run in the five games leading up to the championship.
Southern manager Matt Evans expected Bowling Green to break through but knew his guys would still put up a fight.
“They came out hot and scored some runs,” he said. “We knew they would. I really felt like we were going to stay in the game. Our pitching has been really good, and it was again.”
Owensboro starting pitcher Grayson Smith threw two innings and allow only the two early hits. Will Rickard went the rest of the way, scattering three hits while striking out six.
Southern’s offense wasn’t able to piece together enough of a rally to make up the deficit despite outhitting Bowling Green 6-5.
The best chance came in the bottom of the second inning, when three consecutive singles by Smith, Keagyn Rhinerson and Sean Gray loaded the bases with no outs. Smith scored on a double play ball up the middle, and a groundout ended the threat.
“We got a little momentum with bases loaded then hit into a double play,” Evans said. “That one stung a little bit. We had a couple good hits but couldn’t get anybody on in front of our hits. Their kid pitched the ball well. He kept us off balance.”
Despite falling just short of a district title, Evans said it was a good run for Southern. He said everyone played a role in helping advance to the championship.
“They’re a great group of kids,” he said. “I think the thing I’m most proud of is even the kids that didn’t start, there wasn’t a kid that didn’t contribute in this tournament. We’ve got guys that get one at bat a game, and they did their job to find a way on base.”
Unfortunately, he said, they just didn’t have enough to get past a tough Bowling Green squad.
“Sometimes you just don’t bring your best stuff, and today we didn’t have it at the plate,” he said. “I thought we played well enough to win, we just couldn’t get the hits.”