Hunter Hoskins blasted a two-run walk-off home run in the bottom of the sixth inning to power the Middlesboro 11-year-old All-Stars to a 9-7 win over North Laurel on Wednesday in the District 4 Tournament..
Middlesboro had led most of the way and were up 4-0 after four inning. North scored four runs in the fifth to tie it, Middlesboro took the lead back in the bottom of the inning and North scored three in the sixth before Middlesboro rallied for four runs in their half of the inning to advance.
Eric Helton started on the mound for Middlesboro and didn’t allow a hit over 3-2/3 innings. He struck out 11 and walked five.
Chandler Mink, who missed the first game of the tournament, got Middlesboro’s offense started with a single with two out in the bottom of the first inning. T.J. Patterson and Hoskins both walked to load the bases and Mink scored on a wild pitch. Patterson also scored on a passed ball for a 2-0 lead. Helton also walked and Hoskins tried to score on a passed ball, but was thrown out to end the inning.
In the third Mink was at it again. He drew a two-out walk and Patterson was hit by a pitch. Mink stole third as Patterson drew a pick-off throw to first and then scored on a double steal. Patterson slid into second just under a high tag on the back end of the play as Mink came home to make it 3-0.
Tyshawn Simpson drew a bases-loaded walk to force in Jay Tyler West in the fourth inning. Thomas Justice walked and Stephen Justice singled during that rally as the Middlesboro lead grew to 4-0.
North London’s first hit of the game was a big one as Jon McCowan roped a two-run double into the left-center gap to score Toby Fields and Cooper Dotson with two down in the fifth. Micah Steely and Nathan Sanders added RBI singles in the inning to tie the game at 4.
Middlesboro went back on top in their half of the fifth when Patterson singled, Hoskins walked and Thomas Justice walked to load the bases with two out. Patterson scored on a wild pitch to for a 5-4 lead.
North threatened early in the top of the sixth when Grant Woods singled with one out, stole second and went to third on a throwing error. He tried to score on a wild pitch, but Patterson quickly got to the ball and got it to Stephen Justice for the tag at the plate. Colby Joseph walked and Mink relieved Justice.
Fields reached on an error to keep the inning alive and Dotson was able to reach base after striking out on a passed ball to load the bases. Will Hellard walked to force in Joseph with the tying run and McCowan blooped a two-run single in between second base and center field to put North up 7-5.
Stephen Justice led off with bottom of the seventh with a walk and Simpson reached on an error to put runners at second and third. Justice scored on a passed ball and Mink brought in Simpson with a ground out to tie the game at 7. Patterson walked and Hoskins belted a 1-0 pitch far over the fence in left-center to give Middlesboro a 9-7 win.
The loss eliminates North Laurel from the tournament.
Middlesboro advanced to play Knox County on Thursday in another elimination game. Corbin downed Knox 12-1 to advance to Sunday’s championship game.