The Pratt 86ers were eliminated from the American Legion AA State Tournament Thursday afternoon at Smoky Ford Field, dropping a 10-2 run-rule decision to Rock Creek.
Rock Creek got out of the gates quickly, taking out some of their offensive frustrations against Pratt. Rock Creek had been shut out the day before by Ellis, hitting in some tough luck. Against the 86ers, Rock Creek posted 4 in the first inning to break the ice.
Pratt looked as though they might answer in the bottom of the first, as with one out, Joel Clark singled through the right side. Drake Evert and Jarod Gilmore then walked to load the bases. Chase Hageman singled and Brett Forshee hit a sac fly, but two runs were all the 86ers could manage. And unfortunately, it would be the last runs they were to score in the game.
Not that they didn’t have their chances. Picking up where they left off in their second AB, Mitchell Baird led off with a base hit and Logan Bertholf followed with a bunt single. But the 86ers left them stranded, an all-too-common-theme this summer.
Rock Creek hurler Shane Adams wasn’t exactly dominant, but he was effective. In the 3rd and 4th innings, Pratt got their lead-off runners aboard, but the Rock Creek defense turned double plays to defuse the rallies.
Meanwhile, Rock Creek was adding on as they scored 1 in the second, 3 in the 4th and 1 in the fifth to take a commanding 9-2 lead to the bottom of the fifth. Evert and Gilmore walked in the inning for Pratt, but three fly-outs ended that threat. When Rock Creek plated a tally in the top of the 6th, that put the 86ers in danger of being run-ruled.
Dakota Venard reached on an error to start the inning and stole second. With two out, Skylar Dean (playing again after being on the DL nearly all summer) laced a single to right-center. Looking to score a run to stave off sudden defeat, Venard raced for home, but a strong, accurate throw from the Rock Creek outfielder just beat him to the plate.
That gave Rock Creek the 10-2 run-rule victory in six innings, eliminating the Pratt 86ers from the tourney. In the other elimination game on Thursday, Hays TMP sent Wellington packing 6-5.
In the winners bracket quarterfinals, Iola shut out Concordia 7-0 and Sabetha edged Ellis 10-9. Ellis and Concordia drop to the backside of the bracket where they will face Hays TMP and Rock Creek, respectively, on Friday afternoon—the losers to face elimination. The Tribune will wrap up its coverage of the AA tourney on Tuesday.