Washington was six outs away from taking the Four Rivers Baseball Classic championship, but couldn’t hold on to a four-run lead.
Trailing 5-1, Festus grabbed the lead for good with six runs in the bottom of the sixth inning and held on for a 7-6 victory over the Blue Jays to capture the title.
The Tigers (4-3) scored six runs on five hits and took advantage of three Washington errors in the sixth inning.
Washington (3-1) scored one run in the top of the seventh inning and had the tying run on base, but couldn’t pull even.
“Our goal, just like any other team, is to avoid the big inning,” said Washington Head Coach Scott Bray. “The game against Borgia, we gave them five outs in the first inning and they didn’t score. These guys swing it a little better and you can’t make errors against them.”
Camron Shipley got the start on the mound for Washington and suffered the loss. He crusied through the first five innings before running into trouble in the sixth.
In 5.1 innings of work, Shipley allowed seven runs, four earned, on nine hits with no walks and four strikeouts.
Chris Bethal took over in the seventh inning and got the final two outs.
“Camron threw another good game for us against a team that one through nine, hits it. They hit the ball at a pretty good level. Camron even admitted it coming off the field that they could hit,” Bray said. “We gave them six outs in the sixth inning. Camron worked his tail off and got us ground balls on plays that we can make, and we didn’t make them.”
Festus started the sixth inning with four hits, which were followed by three Washington errors and another hit.
It was fielding and throwing miscues that accounted for the errors, which seemed to snowball in the sixth inning.
It all added up to six runs scored for the Tigers.
“Camron is our normal shortstop and when he’s on the mound, Seth (Bollmann) has to step up,” Bray said. “We’ve yet to find a steady guy at third base. We’ve used a couple of different guys there. (Ryan) Becszlko can play anywhere. We have him at second base now. It’s just a matter of making plays, which I know we’re capable of doing.”
The Blue Jays scored single runs in each of the first five innings for a 5-1 advantage.
In the bottom of the second inning, Festus’ Ethan Reando belted a home run.
Ryan Becszlko led Washington’s 10-hit attack with three hits, three RBIs and one run scored.
Shipley (one double) helped himself at the plate with a pair of hits.
Seth Bollmann also had two hits and scored a run.
Finishing with one hit were Aaron Meyer (double), Matt McGilvray and Matt Miller. Meyer also scored two runs. Brian Trigg and Austin Finder both scored a run.
Sam Clippard pitched the first five innings for Festus, allowing five runs on nine hits.
Blake Baumer tossed two innings in relief for the win, allowing one run on one hit.
Andrew Hayden and William Wamble both had two hits for the Tigers.
“We’ve left too many guys on base in every game that we’ve played. We’ve had chances to put teams away. It didn’t hurt us in our first three games,” Bray said. “In a game like this against a team that can hit the ball well, you have to score the runs you’re supposed to score. I felt that way when it was 5-1. It came back to bite us.”
Bray said it’s an encouraging start to the season for the Blue Jays.
“Overall, I’m pleased with our start. We kind of gave one away, but that’s baseball. I can’t complain,” Bray said. “The kids know we have a lot of work to do and they’re ready to go do it. We have to keep working at it.”