Eagles and Wildcats Battle To Final Pitch Of District 15 Action

By David Sharp

Cameron Morford put Knox County up by a run with a top of the sixth inning, two run double in Class 2, District 15 baseball play at Knox County. Walks and fielding errors led to Milan (9-2) manufacturing two runs in the bottom of the seventh inning for a 5-4 Wildcat win.
Seniors Lucas Hudson, Brett Wilkerson, Cody Goodwin, Mathew McCarty, Parker Dixson and Brett Bryant played their final game in a Knox County uniform. KCHS assistant baseball coach Ryan Waters coached his final game for the Eagles.
Ryan Waters has accepted the head boy’s basketball coaching position at Cabool, Missouri. Waters was not offered a contract as assistant boy’s basketball coach for the 2009-10 season by the Knox County R-I Board of Education.
The Eagles won back-to-back boy’s district basketball titles in 2008 and 2009.
“We had the lead going into the last inning. We kind of ran out of gas at the end,” said Knox County coach Jesse Crawford. “We made too many errors. We had good hitting. Timely hitting against good pitching.”
“We hit the ball well. We just couldn’t field the ball in the clutch,” said Crawford. “Parker Dixson pitched a whale of a game. Cameron Morford came up with a big double in the sixth inning.”
Three Knox County errors in the first inning led to Cody Peterie crossing the plate for the first Milan run in the bottom of the first inning. Third seeded Milan was the home team on the scoreboard.
Matthew McCarty reached base on a fielder’s choice in the KCHS second inning. McCarty advanced on a wild pitch but was stranded on second. Brett Bryant drew a leadoff walk from Milan starting pitcher Cody Peterie.
Knox County starter Parker Dixson worked out of a bases loaded two out jam in the Milan second inning. Juan Carlos Estrada singled with two out, juicing the bases. Parker Dixson fanned Cody Peterie on a 2-2 pitch for the final out.
The Eagles tied the score at one in the top of the third. Christian Deem walked with one out and scored on Dylan Morgret’s two out RBI single. Matthew McCarty reached base on a dropped third strike in the KCHS fourth inning.
McCarty stole second, advanced to third on a passed ball and scored on an error, putting Knox County up 2-1 after four innings. Milan answered when Bryce Richardson hit a two run fifth inning homer for a 3-2 Wildcat lead.
The Eagles had a good scoring chance in the top of the inning. Christian Deem was struck by a Logan Hill pitch and moved to third. Hill struck out two straight Eagle batters and induced Parker Dixson to pop to first for the final out.
Milan walked Brett Bryant leading off the KCHS sixth inning. Matthew McCarty followed with a base hit. Logan Hill fanned Tristan Lonberger for the first out.
   Cameron Morford drilled the first pitch he saw for a two RBI double, putting Knox County up by a 4-3 margin. “We were back on our heels after Bryce Richardson hit that two run homer,” said Jesse Crawford. “(Cameron) Morford rips that double down the right field line giving us the lead.”
“We battled hard. It was the best game we played this year. We almost beat a team that was 9-2,” said Crawford. “I am going to miss all six of our seniors. They did a lot for me. We struggled with the weather conditions and guys staying healthy. We are just going to regroup and try to get better next year.”
 Cooper Bankus doubled for Milan with one out in the bottom of the sixth inning. Parker Dixson struck out the side, leaving Bankus stranded on second base.
Logan Hill set the Eagles down in order in the top of the seventh inning. Milan leadoff batter Cody Peterie walked on a 3-2 offering to begin the bottom of the seventh inning.
Logan Hill reached base on an infield error. Bryce Richardson walked to load the bases with none out. Milan senior catcher Drew Forster put the ball in play. The Eagles could not field the ball for an error. Two runs raced across the plate for the Milan victory.
   Milan scored five runs on five hits and two errors. Cooper Bankus was 2-2 with a walk and a Milan double. Cody Peterie pitched the first four innings with six strikeouts. Logan hill relieved in the fifth inning. Hill hurled the final three innings and picked up the victory. Logan Hill struck out six KCHS batters.
“It’s baseball. You take advantage of the opportunities that are given to you,” said Milan coach John Dabney. “Our kids sprinted out plays at first and put pressure on their infield. We had a never give up attitude. We fought through a game that is designed for you to fail.”
“This can be a vicious game. We were very lucky to win the baseball game,” said Dabney. Milan lost in the semi-final round to second seeded Carrolton by an 18-0 margin in five innings.
Top seeded Salisbury defeated Carrollton 4-3 in the district championship game. Knox County finished their season with an overall record of 3-11. The Eagles lost their fifth one run baseball game.
Knox County won three of their last five games, losing only to state ranked LaPlata and 9-3 Milan in the final weeks of the 2009 season. The Eagles beat Canton on Cody Goodwin’s walk off hit. The Tigers were in their district championship game, losing 2-1 at LaPlata.
Knox County lost a one run game at South Shelby. The Cardinals were in their district championship game with Palmyra. The Eagles defeated Atlanta and Linn County.
The Eagles scored four times on three hits and five errors. Matthew McCarty reached base in all three plate appearances, scoring two Knox County runs in his final game.
Parker Dixson struck out eight men with three walks in six innings plus on the mound. Dixson scattered five hits. Two of the five Milan runs were earned.