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One night sours a sweet week for Under-14 Stars

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By Mike Farner

HILLVIEW - The Babe Ruth District 13 Tournament was a good week for the Blue Lick Under-14 All-Stars, but Thursday was a bad day for coach Scott Belt's team.After already securing a trip to the West Kentucky State Tournament after they beat Germantown 2-1 in a nine inning classic in the winner's bracket final, Blue Lick could not duplicate the magic in the championship games on Thursday.First, there was a 10-3 loss in the first championship game against Germantown. That game had been set up when Germantown beat Prairie Village 7-0 in the loser's bracket final the night before.With the championship game now down to a winner take all match late on Thursday, Germantown jumped out to a quick 4-1 advantage and then blew the game open with six runs in the bottom of the fifth inning. Three more runs in the sixth ended the game an inning early by a 13-3 count."It was a good week, but a bad day," Belt said after the two games on Thursday. "We just didn't hit it. You won't win with two hits. You have a good day and then it comes out like today did. That's the way baseball is sometimes."Both teams had ten hits in the low-scoring 2-1 extra inning game, but Blue Lick could not match that offensive effort on Thursday."I think we all wanted to play that day," Belt said. "We came out and wanted to hit."Today, our offense and defense didn't show up," the coach added. "They still have a lot of heart for 14-year olds."Still, Blue Lick could get another shot at Germantown this week in the Under-14 West Kentucky State Tournament in Franklin.Belt felt he had a strong team when the All-Star practices began despite the fact that his is his first season in the Blue Lick program."The last three weeks we've practiced hard," the coach said. "We have a good group of kids. Our goal was to get to the state. Our first goal was to get to state by being the district champions. We'll have to settle for making it to state as the runners-up."We'll go to state and represent Blue Lick," Belt added. "We had a good week. They played their butts off. One bad day and you can lose two games."In the first game on Thursday, Blake Hardy took the mound for Blue Lick and he managed to keep the team close. It was only 3-0 into the fifth inning before Germantown blew the game open. A three-run home run was the key shot in the 10-3 outcome.In the nightcap, Germantown scored four early runs and had control the rest of the way. It was 5-1 through four innings and then they blew it open with a big fifth inning. Germantown was within a hit of ending the game after five innings.Blue Lick did score twice in the top of the sixth frame, but then Germantown scored three times in the bottom of the sixth to end the game at 13-3 by the mercy rule.J.R. Belt was the starting pitcher and suffered the loss. Blue Lick also used Matt Harris and Brandon Ray on the mound.The big win was the overtime thriller in the first meeting against Germantown.After blowing through a couple of easy games, the Blue Lick 14 All-Stars were in a battle Tuesday in the winner's bracket final.Despite 10 hits, Blue Lick could push only two runs across the plate. But Germantown was able to score just a single run with its 10 hits.In the top of the ninth inning, J.R. Belt delivered on his third double of the game as the host Blue Lick team immediately had a runner in scoring position.Advancing to third on a wild pitch, Germantown got Brandon Ray to pop out.Blake Hardy hit a grounder to third but the throw pull the first baseman.With runners on the corner and one out, Daniel Willhite popped out.However, another wild pitch with Jared Abell at the plate, scored Belt with the winning run.Ray shut down the visitors in the ninth for the victory.In the opening round of the six team event, Blue Lick started strong by defeating Fairdale 12-1 in five innings.The host team scored seven runs in the second inning to break the game open.Belt and Ray each had two doubles, while Forrest Miller, Marcel Hull and Hardy also had doubles.Ricky Conover got the victory on the mound.On Sunday, Blue Lick had 10 hits, seven of them for extra bases, in a 18-0 victory over Okolona.Hardy allowed just one hit during his four innings on the hill.Ray hit a shot over the center-field fence, as well as having a double. Blaise Cannon had a double and a triple, while Miller added a triple on the day.Hull and Hardy also had doubles.The Blue Lick 14 All-Stars include Blake Hardy, Forrest Miller, Cameron Davis, Daniel Willhite, Shawn Adkins, Marcel Hull, Blaise Cannon, Andrew Fleener, Jared Abell, Brandon Ray, Ricky Conover, Scott "J.R." Belt and Matt Harris.Belt's coaching staff also includes Tony Abell and Scott Cannon.