U-12 Blue Lick All-Stars head to state after runner-up finish

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By The Staff

LOUISVILLE - Sometimes championships are won and lost in the early rounds of a tournament.

And sometimes, the play of a team throughout the tournament will earn the squad a spot in the state tournament.

Both scenarios played a part in the Blue Lick All-Stars earning a berth in the state tournament to be contested this week at Okolona.

After an easy victory over Fairdale in the opener, Blue Lick played the host Prairie Village team in the winner’s bracket final on Friday evening. It was an epic contest as the visitors won 6-5 in eight innings.

Prairie Village, which may be the best team in the state at the 12-year-old level, came back Sunday to defeat Blue Lick 5-0 and 5-1 to win the district crown.

Both teams will advance to the state tournament. Blue Lick will open against LaRue County on Thursday at 6 p.m.

Friday’s game looked like it would be a high-scoring affair. Josh Finerty hit a two-run homer in the first but Tyler Capito answered for Blue Lick with a two-run homer to tie the score.

After Prairie Village scored in the top of the second, Blue Lick came back with three runs.

After Justin Belt walked, pitcher Brandon Johnson hit a two-run homer. Tyler Mayberry singled and went to third on an error on Capito’s grounder. He would score on a wild pitch.

Prairie Village got a run back in the fourth on Johnny Metzmeier’s walk and Ryan Kaelin’s double.

The host team appeared to have a chance to break the game open in the fifth inning. They had two hits, two walks and an error but could only push across the tying run.

Blue Lick avoided disaster in the sixth and final inning. Drew Wardrip tagged up at third base on Roby Newton’s fly ball. However, the umpires took the run off the scoreboard saying he left too early.

With darkness arriving, Prairie Village again looked poised for victory. With two outs, Austin Lowe walked and Blue Lick coach Tommy Parker already decided to intentionally walk Finerty. However, Lowe was thrown out by Mayberry attempting to steal second.

In the bottom of the eighth, Mayberry and Capito singled and advanced on wild pitches. With one out, Kyle Hoskins hit a slow rounder up the third base line that refused to go foul. Mayberry scored for the winning run in the 6-5 victory.

On Sunday, Prairie Village did what it had to do - win twice. Big innings led to both losses for Blue Lick.

Darren Harper pitched four scoreless innings for Blue Lick but the wheels fell off in the fifth.

After the first two runners reached, both were erased in a steal attempt and a rundown.

With two outs, an error and a single were followed by Finerty’s double. After pinch-hitter Austin Lile was hit by a Johnson pitch, Travis Weber hit a three-run shot to cap off the 5-0 victory.

In the last game, Blue Lick jumped on top 1-0 in the first. Mayberry’s double down the third-base line would lead to a run as he scored on Hoskins’ fielder’s choice.

Hoskins pitched a gem on the hill until the fourth. With one out, Prairie Village reached on consecutive errors, followed by a pair of run-scoring singles for the 2-1 lead.

In the fifth, Roby Newton hit a two-run homer and J.T. Poppe hit a solo shot for the 5-1 victory.

Members of the Blue Lick 12-year-old All-Star team include Cody Adkins, Justin Belt, Tyler Capito, Dillon Coffman, Brendan Gritton, Darren Harper, Kyle Hoskins, Brandon Johnson, James Keating, Tyler Mayberry, Wesley Parker, Luke Sivori and Austin Tucker. Parker’s assistants are Challis Ford and Jamie Mayberry.