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For the first time in four years, the Carroll County Panthers did not return home with the 8th Region All-A Classic trophy.
After defeating Williamstown Thursday 2-1 in nine innings, the Panthers struggled at the plate and lost 3-0 to Owen County. The game began on Saturday, but was rain delayed after just one inning and continued on Sunday.
Head coach Josh Mefford said his team did not play badly, they just failed to score. “You can’t win games if you don’t score any runs.”
Carroll struck out six times and left nine potential runs on base. “Hitting is a big issue right now,” Mefford said. “We get the runners on base, but just can’t score.”
Owen scored one run in each of the first three innings, but Carroll was able to hold them the rest of the way.
“I’m disappointed because we’ve won three Class A’s in a row,” he said. “I’m disappointed in the way we hit, but our defense is getting better every game.”
In game one, the Panthers “wore down” the Demons through nine innings.
Carroll struck first in the top of the second. Trey Boles led off with a single and then stole second base. John Michael Adams grounded out to second, but Boles advanced to third. Keifer McIntyre followed with a ground out to shortstop, but it was enough to score the run, 1-0.
The Demons answered in the bottom of the third, as David Groff blasted a triple to open the inning. Isaac Alger hit an RBI single, tying the game.
It was a pitcher’s duel the rest of the way. Carroll starting pitcher McIntyre threw six innings, striking out three and walking three. Chase Osborne made an appearance in the sixth, and Derrick Nickell followed, sitting the next two batters down with a fly out and a strikeout.
In the top of the ninth, Adams led off with a single. McIntyre grounded out to shortstop, advancing Adams to second. Zach Beckham laid down a bunt and beat it out, putting runners on the corners. Zakk Hicks scored Adams by hitting an RBI single, 2-1.
As the home team, Williamstown had one last shot at evening the score. But Nickell would have none of it. He forced a groundout, fly out and struck out the last batter swinging, giving him the win. Nickell threw 30 pitches, 22 strikes and 8 balls, and struck out three batters in 2.67 innings of work.
Nickell and Boles were each named to the All-A tournament team.