GIRARD — Coming off a come-from-behind victory in the first round of the Babe Ruth nine-year-old tournament, Fort Scott again rallied back to tie the game late, but couldn’t manage to take the lead, as Pittsburg pulled away to win 8-4.
Fort Scott climbed back from a four-run deficit, plating two runs in both the fourth and fifth innings. Pittsburg got all four runs back in the final frame and shut the door in the bottom half of the inning to get the win.
“We went back and forth,” Pittsburg head coach Kyle Burgess said. “Everybody had great hits and played great defense. I’m just proud of all the kids for playing hard.”
Pitching and defense dominated the game in the early going, but Pittsburg cracked the score column in the second inning.
After two consecutive strikeouts, Brice Reese brought the inning to life with a double into right field.
Reese stole third and scored on an error to give Pittsburg its first run.
Pittsburg tacked on three more runs in the third inning, cushioning its lead to 4-0.
A two-out infield single by Mike Westhoff was followed up with a base hit into right field off the bat of Tyler Garzone, who capitalized on an error to take an extra base.
With two runners in scoring position, Nate Mitchell laced a single into center field that drove in both runners.
Mitchell then came around to score on a single by Reese, creating a 4-0 advantage.
Fort Scott hit the scoreboard in the fourth inning, scoring two runs to cut the deficit to 4-2.
RBI singles by Dub Chipman and Chayden Clayton highlighted the inning.
Fort Scott tied the game at 4 in the fifth, getting two more runs on a single to left field by Colton Rogers, that drove in Brady Gomez and Amari Berry. Both had singled to start the rally.
However, Pittsburg answered back with four critical runs in the bottom of the fifth.
Following consecutive walks by Reese and Hayden Patkison to lead off the inning, Carson Nickelson roped a single into left field, driving in Reese.
Patkison scored on an RBI single by Jett Burgess.
Nickelson and Burgess capitalized on a pair of errors to cross the plate, creating what would be the final margin.
Pittsburg kept Fort Scott quiet in the bottom half of the frame to win the game.
AT THE PLATE
Reese was the offensive catalyst, going 2-for-2 at the plate, with an RBI, two runs scored, two steals and a walk.
Nickleson was also a big part of the win, contributing two hits and an RBI.
ON THE MOUND
Burgess was the starter for Pittsburg and threw four innings before handing the ball over to Conner Proffit, who went two innings. Garzone closed out the game.
Pittsburg will play again at 8 p.m. Saturday in the semifinals in Girard, with the opponent still to be determined.
PITTSBURG ALL-STAR TEAM ROUNDUP
The Pittsburg 10 & under team defeated Parsons 16-5 Friday.
Pittsburg produced 11 hits, including a combined four doubles from Tucker Akins, Webb Fern and Beau Pasteur.
Pitching for Pittsburg in the four-inning game was Jackson Turnbull and Akins.
Play resumes at 10 a.m. on Saturday in Parsons’ Winway Park.
The Pittsburg 8 & under team beat Labette County 10-0 in four innings to advance to the semifinals of the rookie division in the Cal Ripken State Tournament in Columbus.
After a scoreless first inning, Pittsburg exploded for six runs in the second inning, the biggest hit a three-run triple by Anthony Schremmer.
However, the real story was the Pittsburg defense, which held Labette County hitless while committing only one error.
Carston Simmons put the game away with an amazing diving catch in center field to finish off Labette County.
Pittsburg moves on to face Parsons in the semifinals at 7:30 p.m. Saturday.
Jordan Buckamneer is a sports reporter of the Pittsburg Morning Sun. E-mail him at email@example.com and follow him on twitter @jbuckamneer.