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Tyler staves off elimination with win over ‘Jackets

Williamstown baseball coach Levi Maxwell, far left, holds a team meeting on the mound during the Yellowjackets’ 15-5, five-inning loss to Tyler Consolidated in a Class A sectional Monday at Legion Field. (Photo by Kerry Patrick)

WILLIAMSTOWN –Tyler Consolidated caught Williamstown on the Yellowjackets’ worst day.

Needing one win to survive and two in a row to claim a Class A sectional title at Williamstown, the Silver Knights erupted for six runs in the top of the first inning and never looked back in a 15-5, five-inning victory over the Yellowjackets Monday afternoon at Legion Field.

The same two teams meet again Tuesday again at Legion Field in a winner-take-all Class A sectional championship game.

“We got on a roll against Ritchie County in a sectional semifinal with the bats, and we continued that through today,” TCHS coach Robby Jones said. “The kids are swinging hot bats and have a lot of confidence right now. We knew we had to beat Williamstown twice. We did it once and we will see what happens (Tuesday).

After pelting Williamstown starting pitcher Braydin Coleman for six runs on five hits in two-thirds of an inning, the TCHS bats went silent for the most part primarily due to the wildness of the Yellowjacket relievers.

In addition to Ty Walton’s third-inning grand slam, three Williamstown pitchers combined to hit eight Silver Knight batters and issue another eight walks.

“Flat — that’s a perfect word for today,” Williamstown coach Levi Maxwell said after his ballclub slipped to 23-4. “I don’t think we came ready to play today in any facet of the game. Tyler came out more hungry than we were and beat us.

“This is by far the worst game we have played all year. In every way you could imagine, we did not play well. If somebody told me we would get (mercy ruled) in this situation, I would have probably laughed.”

With seven wins in his hip pocket, Coleman hit the first batter he faced. After his 10th batter of the inning and six TCHS runs later, he exited the mound. Highlighting the opening salvo were RBI doubles from Charles Brown and Alec Chaplin.

Chaplin took some time to get his feet grounded as the Silver Knight’s starting pitcher in the bottom of the first inning. He surrendered a lead-off single to Leewood Molessa, hit Maxwell Molessa and walked Ty Ott to load the bases. A wild pitch and an infield grounder allowed two Yellowjacket runs to score, but Chaplin escaped major damage by retiring the next three.

Williamstown score single runs in both the third and fourth innings. Otherwise, Chaplin gave TCHS an ideal effort after lasting four innings and giving way to Walton.

“Alec was on today,” Jones said. “We knew all year he had a nice bender, nice breaking ball. We were saving it for situations like this. He was able to get the curve ball over the plate and keep this potent Williamstown offense off-balance today.”

By the time Walton took over in relief, TCHS had touched up Williamstown for another six runs in the third inning and three in the fifth. In the third inning, TCHS recorded just one hit — Walton’s bases-loaded, one-out home run over the left-center field fence.

“I finally connected with the barrel,” Walton said. “It seems like I have been hitting it to the fence all year. I finally put one out, and the best situation to put it out.

“As a team we were really focused — you could tell on the bus ride over it was different. We didn’t want to go home early.”

Leading 12-4, TCHS managed to keep the arms of the pitching staff well-rested for Tuesday’s winner-take-all encounter by avoiding a sixth or seventh innings on Monday. The Silver Knights scored three runs in the fifth with the benefit of just one hit. One pitch after Jayden Helmic was hit for the third time, teammate Zade Billings was plunked with two outs and the bases loaded. Charles Brown followed with a two-run single to increase the lead to 15-4.

Walton stayed well below the 30-pitch count and stay eligible for Tuesday, despite a pair of TCHS errors which allowed the Yellowjackets to narrow the deficit to 15-5. The southpaw’s second strikeout of the frame secured the win.

“Sometimes when you come in with a plan and sometime it gets changed pretty quickly,” Jones. “But tonight, things went how we were hoping they would.”

Contact Kerry Patrick at kpatrick@newsandsentinel.com

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