Wednesday was Shawn Emmons' 39th birthday.
The Fleming County All-Star 9-10 baseball team Emmons coaches gave him a pretty good present — a 13-10 win over Morehead for the District 6, Area 1 championship at Fleming County Recreation Park.
Yesterday's gift might have be the most nerve-racking — Morehead wiped out Fleming County's 10-3 lead with seven fifth-inning runs. Fleming County rebounded with a three-spot in the bottom of the fifth.
“I told them, 'I didn't want anything for my birthday but a win', and they showed up and they delivered,” Emmons said.
About the only thing Fleming County didn't deliver was the cake, candles and ice cream.
Start with Shawn's son, first baseman Tristan Emmons — 3-for-3 with a solo inside-the-park home run, a three-run double, four runs batted in, two runs scored.
“This was probably my best game,” Tristan said. “We played a heck of a ball team … I was thinking about (Shawn's birthday) all day long. I wanted to play my best for him, and I did, and we won.”
Continue with shortstop Larkin McKee: three singles (he had two in Tuesday's 13-8 win which forced Wednesday's game), two runs, 3-for-4 at the plate. Strong as those numbers were, his defense stood out, too — he smothered a Jacob Plank grounder deep in the hole and flipped to second baseman Landon Lutz for a force out in the fifth.
Next was the pitching duo of Jaden Argo and Braden Clark, who earned the win. They combined to strikeout six Morehead batters.
Fleming County scored five runs in the fourth inning on four singles and Emmons' double.
You want defense? Here's some more — McKee threw out Plank at the plate in the third, and Lutz finished a rundown in the fifth when he tagged Morehead's Lane Bowling, whose single scored Haven Ford from second (Bowling hyperextended his left elbow trying to get back to first).
And finish with the entire offense. Fleming County's five runs in the fourth icame with two out (which Emmons the younger finished with his double to left), and Fleming County stranded only four runners for the game, eight fewer than Tuesday's 12.
Morehead coach Mike Alderman was glad there was no repeat of Tuesday's Fleming County 10-run first-inning explosion.
“Excellent game,” Alderman said. “Difference between (Tuesday) and (Wednesday) was, we played some defense, hit the ball a little bit; they just hit the ball a little better than we did.”
Morehead's seven runs required just three hits, and in sending 10 batters, Morehead converted four Fleming County wild pitches, two errors and two walks.
Plank added an RBI double in the third and scored two runs. Bowling scored from first base after he worked a walk.
Like Plank, third baseman Derrick Stevens scored twice.
Morehead scored twice in the second on singles by Chase Leuenberger and a fielder's choice. An inning later, Plank's double plated Bowling.
Fleming County scored four times in the second on two errors and singles by Emmons and left fielder Jordan Raikes.
Tristan Emmons' two-out homer in the third hit the base of the left field fence and bounded away from Morehead's Gavin Stanley, who crashed into the fence but finished the game.
“I thought it was going to be outside (the fence), but I just got underneath of it,” Tristan said. “I didn't want (Stanley) to get hurt … I was thinking home all the way.”
Fleming County plays Russell-Flatwoods, Catlettsburg or Ashland American next week. Coach Emmons gave his team a couple days off to perhaps savor Wednesday, and he didn't know immediately after the game whether he received any other birthday gifts.
“A win's good enough,” he said.
MOREHEAD 021 070 – 10 6 2
FLEMING CO. 041 53x – 13 12 4
Ford, Leuenberger (4) and Mullen. Argo, Clark (4) and Clark, Conn (3) W-Clark. L-Leuenberger. HR-Emmons (FC). 2B-Plank (M), Emmons (FC).
Fleming County's Andrew Johnson hit a double in the sixth inning of Tuesday's game against Morehead. Johnson's name was incorrect in Wednesday's story.