DISTRICT 5-A BASEBALL: Southern Fulton shakes off early deficit for 6-3 defeat of...
WARFORDSBURG >> The beginning of the game wasn't kind to Southern Fulton on Wednesday afternoon.
But the Indians shook off some jitters and had a fine relief performance from Connor Litton to take down Tussey Mountain, 6-3, in the first round of the District 5 Class A baseball playoffs.
"In the first round of the playoffs, I preach to the kids that offense is what wins it," SF coach Dustin Fischer said. "All it takes is one good pitcher, and (Daniel) Taylor is one of the best pitchers we see all year. We had to be ready to hit, and early on, we just weren't ourselves."
With the victory, Southern Fulton (20-2) will face Berlin (14-6) in a semifinal on Thursday at Bedford at 4:30.
Tussey Mountain (9-10) jumped out to an early two-run lead, scoring runs on a passed ball and an error.
But when Litton entered on the mound in the top of the third, the Titans couldn't do much else. In five innings of work, Litton allowed just two hits and one run, which wasn't earned and came in the top of the seventh inning. Twelve of Litton's 15 outs came via strikeouts, and he walked only one batter.
"I knew Cooper (Grove) wasn't going to last the whole game, and Litton came in and did very well," Fischer said.
The Indians clawed their way back in it and finally tied up the game in the fourth inning. Tristan Douglas led off with a single and moved to second on a passed ball. He was pushed along by a groundout from Litton. When Dillan Lashley struck out, a dropped third strike allowed Lashley to reach first and gave Douglas time to score.
SF then took its first lead of the game in the fifth inning. Tanner Elbin led off with a double and advanced to third on a groundout by Branden Lynch before Robbie McCusker smacked an RBI single to bring him home.
The bottom of the sixth inning is when Southern Fulton broke the game open.
"We finally looked like the Southern Fulton Indians that I know," Fischer said. "We were out of sync early, but I did like that the kids didn't hang their heads. When things weren't going their way, they battled through it. We did what we had to do to stay in the game and secure it at the end."
In the sixth, Douglas and Litton led off with back-to-back singles before Lashley laid down a sac bunt to put them both in scoring position. Trent Rider then smashed the first pitch of his at-bat for a two-RBI single to right-centerfield. Pinch runner Dristin Mellott advanced to third on a single by Elbin, and Lynch hit a sacrifice fly to set the final score.
Southern Fulton 6 Tussey Mountain 3
Tussey Mtn.So. FultonabrhbabrhbTaylor p4110Gordon 3b2100Price lf3100Douglas 2b3220Leonard cf3010Litton ss3121James c4000Lashley cf2000Musser ss3000Rider 1b3012Rankin 3b3000Elbin c3120MMitchll rf 2010Grove p0000JMitchell 1b0000Lynch dh2001Barnett dh2000McCuskr rf3011Nokwsk 2b3110Clark lf2000Mellott pr0100Totals27340Totals23685
Tussey Mtn.2000001—3So. Fulton100113x—6
E: TM 1, SF 2; DP: TM 1; LOB: TM 7, SF 2; 2B: Elbin; SB: Gordon; CS: Litton; SAC: Lashley; SF: Lynch.
Tussey Mtn. Pitching
Southern Fulton Pitching
Grove222132Litton (W,3-1)5210112Grove pitched to 1 batter in the third.