Those 10 first-inning runs Fleming County’s age 9-10 All-Star baseball team scored against Morehead Tuesday?
Turns out the 12 players on the roster needed every one. Fleming County withstood a sixth-inning rally in its 13-8 win in the Area 1 District 6 finals at Fleming County Recreation Park.
Because Morehead suffered its first tournament loss, a third and deciding game begins at 6 tonight.
Fleming County sent 13 batters in the opening inning. What was impressive — or depressing if you’re a Morehead supporter — is the 10 runs came on just three singles to go with five Morehead errors, three wild pitches, five walks and three stolen bases.
Here are three reasons why Fleming County needed every one of its tallies: not a run over the next three innings; Morehead’s five runs in the sixth (11 batters came to the plate), including doubles from right fielder Derrick Stevens and second baseman Aiden Leuenberger; and four sixth-inning walks.
Morehead stranded 11 runners on Tuesday. There might have been a few more scores if not for an unusual ending.
Leuenberger sent a two-out double to center field. After Chase Alderman walked, third baseman Haven Ford reached first on an error, but Alderman was called out for interfering with shortstop Larkin McKee's throw to first, said Fleming County coach Shawn Emmons.
Morehead coach Mike Alderman didn’t see his son being called out, but he saw something encouraging — his team did not fold after Fleming County's big inning.
“Ten runs in the first inning, and that was the ball game,” coach Alderman said. “We played hard from there on, just couldn't get back into it. Last call at the end of the game didn't matter.”
There was nevertheless many things to enjoy.
McKee and Landon Lutz each had two hits, and they each scored three runs.
And yes, McKee is named after Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame shortstop Barry Larkin. His mom, Terri McKee, said older son Bryson McKee is responsible.
“(Bryson) wanted to name him, and I said, 'fine',” Ms. McKee said.
And Larkin loves the distinctiveness.
“I like the name,” he says. “It makes me feel real good.”
Larkin McKee and Lutz were pretty strong pitchers, too. McKee struck out five over four innings, and Lutz fanned four over the final two.
“I think the pitching's more important, because if we can't play defense, we can't win games,” McKee said.
Lutz also had the defensive highlight when he was at second base. His over-the-shoulder catch of Jacob Plank’s pop-up ended the second inning.
Morehead scored once in the first and twice in the second without a hit. Problem was, Lutz’s catch left the bases loaded, and Morehead didn't score again until the sixth.
Fleming County scored once in the fifth on an error and twice in the sixth on doubles by Zeke Conn and Andrew Emmons.
FLEMING (10)00 012 — 13 7 2
MOREHEAD 120 005 — 8 4 5
McKee, Lutz (4), Hargett (6) and Clark. Alderman, Bowling (4) and Mullen. W—McKee. L—Alderman. 2B—Conn (FC), Emmons (FC), Stevens (M), Leuenberger (M).