With solid all-around baseball, Albion’s Cornertone Juniors opened play in the Area 5 tournament with a 4-1 victory over Pierce Friday, July 8.
Cornerstone did not need a lot of run production, as Albion starter Trent Patzel and reliever Keaton Hunt limited Pierce to just three hits and an unearned run.
Cornerstone tallied all the runs it would need in the third inning, sending eight batters to the plate. Logan Spence led off the top of the inning with a single, advanced on a single by Jack Molt and scored on Caden Stokes’ base hit. James Fogleman plated both runners to put the Albion Juniors on top 3-0.
From there, it was a test of pitching and defense. Stokes had a big night at the plate, finishing 4-for-4 with two runs batted in and one scored.
Stokes continued his heroics Saturday, leading Albion Cornerstone to an exciting 4-3 come-from-behind victory over the West Point Bombers in winner’s bracket action.
Cornerstone scored first and last in the contest, and that was all they would need despite five dry innings between. Albion took the early lead when Stokes singled in the bottom of the first and raced home on a double by Fogleman.
Gavin Kreikemeier and Cody Haas held Albion scoreless over the following five innings, allowing West Point to take the mid-game lead. The Bombers tied the game with a run in the fourth inning, then took advantage of two walks and a pair of Cornerstone errors to go up 3-1 in the fifth. Stokes held his ground there, inducing two flyball outs and striking out a batter to strand another baserunner at second.
Cornerstone’s hopes came down to its final at-bat in the bottom of the seventh – and the Albion Juniors made good on those hopes.
Spence cracked a one-out base hit, advanced when Molt reached by error and Stokes singled, and went home on a bases-loaded walk to Fogleman. Patzel was then hit by a pitch to force in another run and Stokes raced home on a fielder’s choice ground ball by Ben Reilly that turned into the walk-off winner.
Cornerstone faced tournament host Wayne Sunday in a game to qualify for the event championship finals.
In another hard-fought contest, the Albion Juniors could not muster enough offense and dropped a 5-1 decision to the Junior Legion Blue Devils.
Wayne’s Wyatt Heikes kept Albion’s bats silent for most of the game, allowing just three hits and an unearned run in the final inning.
By that time, the Blue Devils had built their five-run lead, beginning with a three-run first inning against Albion starter Fogleman. Wayne parlayed a one-out double, a single and three walks, the final two with the bases loaded, to take the early advantage. The hosts added a pair of runs in the fourth with three singles and a Cornerstone error.
Reilly walked to open Albion’s seventh, advanced on an error and scored on a balk. That was all Cornerstone could get, as Heikes induced pop fly and ground ball outs to close the game.
Albion Cornerstone faced the West Point Bombers in an elimination game Monday night at the Wayne baseball park.
It was the Albion Juniors who did the bombing.
Albion advanced to the Area 5 tournament finals with a 10-0 five-inning victory over West Point. Albion Cornerstone faced host Wayne Tuesday for the Area championship, needing to defeat the Junior Legion Blue Devils twice.
Cornerstone broke Monday’s game open with a seven-run surge in the fourth inning, which proved to be more than enough to back Albion starter Keaton Hunt. In fact, Albion’s first two runs in the third would have been sufficient.
Hunt was dominant in the contest, twirling all five innings and allowing just three hits and three walks while striking out eight West Point batters.
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