LEWISTOWN - Mifflin County's late-inning comeback bid fell short as the home team fell 12-8 to Bellefonte in a Little League District 5 10-11-year-old all-star tournament game at Kish Park on Monday night.
The reason Mifflin County had to attempt to dig out of such a large whole was Bellefonte's power-hitting first baseman Bobby Marsh, who blasted a long three-run home run and a grand slam to separate his team from Mifflin County.
Marsh's long one-out, three-run bomb turned a 4-3 lead into a 7-3 advantage for the visitors and the slam further extended the lead as Bellefonte advanced in the 10-11 year old tournament.
Sentinel photo by MATT?STRICKER
Mifflin County shortstop Gage Schaeffer, right, leaps for an infield fly against Bellefonte Monday evening in Burnham.
See more photos online at cu.lewistownsentinel.com
While Mifflin County coach Charlie Whiteman acknowledged that Marsh, who finished 4-for-4 with seven RBIs, did the damage, he also knew that putting runners on base in front of the slugger cost his team.
"What killed us tonight was the walks," Whiteman said. "(Marsh) hit the grand slam, we gave up three walks before him. When he hit the three-runner, we gave up a walk there.
"He's a very good hitter," Whiteman added. "Like I said, if we didn't walk the guy(s) before him, it may have been a different outcome. He was fantastic. Nothing you can take away from the kid."
After Bryce Dubson sat down Bellefonte in order to start the game, Mifflin County answered with the first run of the night in the bottom half.
Gage Schaeffer tripled to right field with one out and came home on a fielder's choice.
The Bellefonte third baseman, Terrence Howard fielded the slow bouncer cleanly and checked Schaeffer at third.
After Howard threw to first to get the runner, who was called safe, Schaeffer took off for home and the late throw from first couldn't get him.
Bellefonte starter Seth Shuey hit the following batter, Cole Schlegal to put runners on first and second with just one out.
The right-hander go Connor Cherry swinging and induced a Mark Schilling grounder to second to escape the inning with just the one run across.
Bellefonte answered though with four runs of its own to open the second inning.
They got four straight hits to open the inning with the big blow Nick Kreger's two-run single to take a 4-1 lead on Mifflin County.
Dubson started see his way out of the inning though when he got Clayton McClelland swinging and retired Harry Horner on a pop-out to shortstop.
Dylan Dann came up next and lined a single to left, which Schilling just missed catching on the fly.
The Mifflin County left fielder got Dann digging for the extra base with a nice throw to second to end the inning.
Schilling's throw shifted the momentum for Mifflin County as it went in to hit and plated two runs in the bottom half of the inning to make it 4-3.
Joe Yearick, Nick Goss and Brandos Sounders started the inning with three consecutive singles with Sounders' knocking in the second Mifflin County run.
The following run for the home team scored on a Bellefonte error before Shuey could get Schlegal swinging to end the inning.
Shuey and Ty Butler both drew walks to open the away half of the third and scored on Marsh's first homer of the night, the one-out deposit to left.
Dubson got two fly balls to end the frame and keep the deficit at 7-3.
Mifflin County went down in order in its half of the inning and allowed Bellefonte to get right back in the box.
Horner singled and later scored on a passed ball and Schlegal, who came on in relief, walked three straight Bellefonte batters.
He got Howard to fly out for the second out of the inning.
That's when Marsh came up and launched his two-out slam to center to make it 12-3 Bellefonte.
Mifflin County would be heard from again at the plate though as the home team scored five times in the fifth inning to narrow the gap.
Schlegal walked to open the inning, and was erased on Cherry's reached on a fielder's choice, Schilling singled and pinch-hitter Kelly Ferguson walked to load the bases.
After a fielder's choice and a single scored two runs, Sounders cleared the bases with a three-run home run to make it 12-8.
Schaeffer singled before Dann could retire the side and send it to the sixth.
Cherry and Schilling struck for back-to-back one-out singles in the sixth, but they would go no further as Dann got the following two Mifflin County hitters.
Whiteman said the lead mau have been insurmountable.
"When we played Four Leaf, we came back with four or five runs," he said. "We came back with the runs in the (fifth), but came up short."
Mifflin County will host Big Valley on Wednesday; while Bellefonte will head to the championship round and will have to be beaten twice by the winner of that game.
Schaeffer and Sounders each finished with three hits and Sounders drove in a team-best four runs.