PITTSBURG — Nothing came easy for the Frontenac 11-year-old all-stars in the Cal Ripken Midwest Plains Regional tournament, but a 14-7 win against Baxter in the final game of pool play earned them a spot in the bracket on Sunday.
FRONTENAC EARNS PLAYOFF BERTH WITH WIN OVER BAXTER
It was win or go home for the Frontenac all-stars in their final game of pool play on Saturday, but they answered the call with a 14-7 win over Baxter to stay alive.
Things were looking bleak for the Frontenac all-stars in the early going, but they rallied back from a four-run deficit with 10 runs in the third inning and held on to get the win.
"I think we hit the ball well," Frontenac head coach Kaleb Terlip said. "Korbin's home run really got us going and the top of our lineup really produced. It was a big momentum booster to get that leadoff home run."
After Frontenac scored the opening run of the game on an RBI base hit by Alex Williams in the top of the first, Baxter took control with two runs in the bottom half and three runs in the second to take a 5-1 lead.
Korbin Niegsch kickstarted Frontenac's offense in the third inning with a leadoff home run to center field, which was the first of 10 runs in the third inning to push the score to 11-5.
In addition to Niegsch's home run, the third inning included a three-run double by Williams, a two-run single by Indica Goodward and RBI base hits from Aidan Hill, Tucker Jameson, Bergen Souder and Kal Terlip.
Baxter got two runs back in the fourth, but Frontenac added three more insurance in the fifth on the strength of a three-run home run to center field by Williams.
Williams earned the MVP award, going 4-for-4 with seven RBIs and three runs scored.
The WOW award was given to Niegsch, who drove in a run on two hits with four runs scored and a walk.
FRONTENAC FALLS TO GRAND FORKS
Late dramatics in game one of the tournament saw Grand Forks get a 5-3 win over Frontenac.
A two-run lead for Grand Forks vanished in the fifth after Frontenac rallied for three runs, but Grand Rapids answered with three runs of its own in the sixth and held on for the win in the bottom half of the frame.
“I was really happy that the kids battled back late in the game,” Kaleb Terlip said. “I think it took us a little while to get going, maybe because we were a bit star struck right off the bat. All three pitchers did a great job and we battled late, but couldn’t really catch a break. Grand Forks is a very good ball team, so I was proud of the kids. Overall, it was a pretty good effort and we’ll move on to the next one.”
After trailing for four innings, Frontenac took the lead in the fifth, plating three runs to take a 3-2 advantage.
The inning was highlighted by a pair of RBI singles from Kal Terlip and Goodwin.
Frontenac’s lead was short lived, as Grand Forks got the three runs back in the sixth and held on for the win in the bottom half.
Kal Terlip was awarded MVP, as he was hit by a pitch twice and recorded a hit with an RBI in his only official plate appearance.
Frankenberg took home the WOW award, going 1-for-4 with a run scored.
FRONTENAC TAKES DOWN BRECKENRIDGE
After a pedestrian start to the game, both teams began lighting up the scoreboard in the late innings, as Frontenac went on to beat Breckenridge by run rule 19-9 lead in the fifth inning.
Holding a one-run lead after four innings, Frontenac won the game after Williams drove in the winning runs on a three-run triple which bounced off the fence in left-center field.
“To say that it was a long game would be an understatement,” Kaleb Terlip said. “I’m proud of my kids tonight. We talked about grinding out at-bats each inning and I felt like we just outlasted them. I’m really proud of them. It was a good, team effort and they did just what we needed them to do.”
Following two, scoreless innings to begin the contest, Frontenac opened up the floodgates with six runs in the third to take a 6-0 lead.
The inning was highlighted by a two-run single through the right side of the infield by Hill and included an RBI base hit to right field off the bat of Bergen Souder.
Breckenridge came through for nine runs in the fourth inning to take a 9-6 lead, but Frontenac got four runs back in the home half to regain the lead at 10-6.
Abram Frankenberg was hit by a pitch to leadoff the inning and went from first to third on a double into the right-center field gap by Williams.
Frankenberg came in to score on a productive groundout, before Williams and Aidan Hill crossed the plate on a single by Dalton Bollinger.
Tucker Jameson accounted for the fourth run after getting on base via a walk.
Frontenac capped off the win with nine runs in the fifth inning.
With the bases loaded and six runs already on the board in the fifth, Williams drove in three runners on a triple into the left-center field gap to give Frontenac the win.
Niegsch won the MVP award, notching six strikeouts in three innings of work on the mound while driving in two runs on two hits with three runs scored at the plate.
The WOW award went to Williams, who went 2-for-3 with three RBIs and two runs scored.
DEVIL’S LAKE TOPS FRONTENAC
Day two of the tournament kicked off with Devil’s Lake defeating Frontenac 11-1 in the fourth inning via the run rule.
It was an all-around win for Devil’s Lake, taking a quick, five-run lead in the opening frame and holding Frontenac to one run in the win.
“I just don’t think we were mentally ready to play from the start,” Kaleb Terlip said. “We had a couple miscues in the first inning and just never got the intensity going. We lacked a little bit of hustle and fire today. We were just pretty sloppy defensively and add that with only scoring one run, it makes for a long day.”
A five-run lead for Devil’s Lake swelled to six in the third inning, but a run for Frontenac in the fourth cut the deficit to 6-1.
Kal Terlip drew a walk to leadoff the frame for Frontenac and moved up to second on a slow roller back to the pitcher in the next at-bat.
Terlip advanced to third on a defensive error and was driven in on a base hit to right field off the bat of Bollinger.
Devil’s lake ended the game in the home half of the fourth, plating five runs to gain a ten-run advantage.
Bollinger won the MVP award, drawing a walk in his first plate appearance before hitting the RBI single in the fourth.
The WOW award was awarded to Souder, who was the starter on the mound.
FRONTENAC LOSES CROSSTOWN RIVALRY
Frontenac began the third day of the tournament with a 19-9 loss to Pittsburg.
Although coming up short wasn’t what the Frontenac all-stars preferred, the loss didn’t hurt them in the race for a spot in the bracket.
“We knew going into the game that winning or losing wouldn’t matter,” Kaleb Turlip said. “We knew that if we beat Baxter tonight, we’d be in the bracket tomorrow. Because of that, we went with the lineup that would save our pitching for tonight. I was really proud of Bergen Souder and Indica Goodwin, they threw a lot of strikes. We were in the game until the fifth and we were swinging the bat well the entire game. I was happy from the standpoint of what we did during the game. Other than the fact that we lost, I don’t think we could have scripted it any better.”
Kal Terlip put Frontenac on top in the top of the first with a three-run home run to center field, but Pittsburg gained control of the contest with eight runs in the bottom half to take an 8-3 lead.
Niegsch doubled Frontenac’s run total by driving another three-run shot over the center-field fence to cut the deficit to 8-6.
Pittsburg responded with two runs in the bottom half and three runs in the third, before Niegsch and Souder crossed the plate for Frontenac in the fourth to push the score to 13-9.
Pittsburg went on to end the game by run rule, scoring one run in the home half of the fourth and five runs in the fifth.
Kal Terlip won the MVP award, driving in three runs on one hit with a run scored.
Niegsch took home the WOW award, going 2-for-2 with three RBIs, three runs scored and a walk.
— Jordan Buckamneer is the sports editor of the Pittsburg Morning Sun. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @jbuckamneer.