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The Shelby County 11-year-old Cal Ripken All-Star Team started the District Tournament at with a bang last week, but the team fizzled fast.
However, Shelby County will get a shot to make up for the losses. As the host for the State Tournament this week, Shelby County automatically earned a spot.
Shelby opened the district with a dramatic, 3-2, victoryover host and eventual champion Scott County.
"Will McDonald was outstanding," Coach Scott Corn said. "He had one of the best-pitched games I've seen in a while. He kept them off-balance the whole game."
The game remained scoreless until the fifth inning, when Shelby County struck first. McDonald highlighted the inning with a two-run hit, putting Shelby on top, 3-0.
But Scott County threatened in the top of the sixth and final inning.
With the bases loaded, McDonald got one strike out, but then walked in two runs.
"That's when it got interesting," Corn said. "Will got a strikeout on high fastball for the second out, but it got past the catcher. The guy on third tried to come home, but we got him at the plate for the last out."
That unusual double play put Shelby into the finals of the winner's bracket.
However, the big victory left Shelby with a big let down. Shelby County fell, 5-0, to Frankfort.
"We just didn't play well at all," Corn said. "We only had two hits. That game was pretty disappointing."
Despite the loss, Corn was happy with his team's pitching.
"Matthew Roberts pitched well enough for us to win," he said. "He had a really nice game."
But Shelby still had a shot and played Scott County again in the finals of the loser's bracket.
Shelby didn't have the same kind of luck this time.
The team got another strong pitching performance, this time from Riley Everson, but it wasn't enough in a 7-0 loss.
"We just stopped hitting the ball," Corn said. "We're going to have to work on manufacturing runs, bunting and just getting the ball in play. We're striking out too much right now."
As the team heads into the State Tournament this week at Clear Creek Park, Corn knows his team has a shot because of their pitching.
"You never know, but with good pitching we have a chance," he said. "Especially with Will on the mound."
The key will be getting some run support for those pitchers.
"Hitting is contagious," Corn said. "All it takes is a couple of guys getting a key hit or two. They're all capable of it; they've done it all year in the league. It's just a matter of getting it started."
Shelby County opened up play in the double-elimination State Tournament Tuesday night against District 5.