Houdini would have been proud of U-10 Stars' win

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By Mike Farner

    FERN CREEK - Houdini himself could not have come up with a greater escape than the Under-10 Mount Washington All-Stars did on Saturday night in the championship game of the District 10 Tournament at Fern Creek Park.

    The great magician would put himself in great peril and then extricate himself from the danger, much to the joy of his fans.

    The Under-10 All-Stars did that and more, pulling out a 9-8 victory in an extra inning game.

    First, Mount Washington had to put itself in danger. They did that in the bottom of sixth inning, allowing Fern Creek to score six runs to pull even at 8-8 after coach Eric Miller’s team had dominated play most of the night. Fern Creek still had the bases loaded with one out, but could not score the tying run.

    After the emotional letdown, Mount Washington regrouped in the top of the seventh. Pinch-hitter Davis Kromenacker singled and went to second on a throwing error, barely beating the throw to the bag. Matt Wheeler then returned to the game, running for Kromenacker. Wheeler moved up on Caden Dowell’s ground-out and then scored when Luke Ezell singled through the right side of the infield.

    But the master escape artists were just getting warmed up. In the bottom of the seventh, Fern Creek’s number nine hitter reached on an error that moved him to second. The runner then took third on a sacrifice bunt. Pitcher Sean Johnson, who had come on to start the inning, then got Littlefield to fly out to Dowell in right field.

    Dowell, who had pitched in the sixth inning when Fern Creek scored six times, threw a perfect strike to the plate. Mount Washington catcher Logan McKenna laid down the perfect block of the plate and then tagged out the runner to preserve the win.

    Amazingly, Mount Washington had twice gunned down Fern Creek runners at the plate 24-hours earlier in a 5-3 victory in the winner’s bracket final.

    “There were a lot of emotions,” Miller said of the team after Fern Creek had rallied in the sixth. “There were tears in their eyes. We had to explain that they had to go out without the tears and keep their emotions in check.”

    The two teams, through summer independent play, knew that they were going to face each other at the key moments in this tournament. Each team had recorded lopsided victories in their opening games and then after Mount Washington beat Fern Creek on Friday, the host team had blasted Highview 19-2 in the first game on Saturday, setting up the rematch.

    Mount Washington appeared to be home free after scoring two runs in the first and four more in the second. Fern Creek did score twice in the bottom of the second, but then did not get a runner past second base over the next three innings. Mount Washington seemingly put the icing on the cake with two more runs in the top of the sixth.

    But Fern Creek rallied in their last at-bat in regulation with four hits. With the score tied at 8-8, Fern Creek had a runner at third base and only one out. Mount Washington opted to intentionally walk the next two batters. Dowell then got a strike-out and a ground-ball to first to get out of the jam.

    The win gives Mount Washington a second straight 10th District title at this age group.

    With the win, the Mount Washington All-Stars will advance to the West Kentucky State Tournament which will be played later this week in Metcalfe County.

    Members of the Under-10 Mount Washington All-Stars include: Sean Johnson, Luke Ezell, Clayton Miller, Matt Wheeler, Kyle Freidmund, Dylan Calhoun, Michael Lobred, Alex Lucas, Connor Green, Caden Dowell, Logan McKenna and Davis Kromenacker.

    Eric Miller was the team’s head coach and he was assisted by Scott Johnson and Chris Wheeler.