After requiring extra innings on Thursday to make it into the state playoffs, Scotland County didn’t even use all seven frames of Monday night’s sectional contest, blasting Louisiana 11-1, winning the contest by the 10-run rule in the sixth inning.
The contest was nearly an inning shorter, as Kyler Burkhiser missed a walk-off three run homer by feet as his blast hit at the base of the fence and he was stranded at second base with the score at 9-0 in the fifth inning.
The two teams played to a 0-0 tie through one inning thanks to strong defensive play. Grant Campbell turned a nifty double play in the top of the first to get the Tigers out of a first and third jam.
Louisiana right fielder Spencer Brown flashed some leather in the bottom of the first, cutting off a gapper by Gage Dodge to hold him to a single before robbing Tyler Buford of an extra base hit with a catch near the fence. He capped off a huge first inning with a diving snag on a sinking line drive by Grant Campbell down the right field line that would have been extra bases as well.
The Bulldogs put some good swings on starter Aaron Buford in the second inning, but hit the ball right at defenders, with Jacob Hull making a nice play in left field and Dodge snagging a liner at shortstop.
SCR-I took the momentum in the bottom of the second. Landyn Swearingen singled past the short stop. Jacob Blessing and Hull walked to load the bases. Burkhiser drove in the first run with a single to right field and Hull scored on an errant throw to make it 2-0. Dodge and Aaron Buford followed with RBI singles and Campbell added an RBI ground out to put the Tigers on top 5-0.
That was more than enough cushion for Buford. He worked around a walk and a base hit in the third, before retiring seven straight to keep the shutout intact through five innings.
SCR-I nearly put the game away in the bottom of the fifth. Tyler Buford led off with a base hit. Swearingen singled and Blessing reached on an error to load the bases. Justin McKee delivered a clutch two-out two-run single to make the score 7-0. Burkhiser nearly ended the game when he blasted a deep drive to the left- center field gap, narrowly missing a three-run homer. His double plated two more runs but SCR-I could not force the 10th run across the plate.
Buford ran into some trouble in the sixth inning. An error, a base hit, and a walk loaded the bases with just one out. The hurler made a nice leaping catch of a foul pop up, reaching over the fence to snag the second out. But a hit by pitch forced in a run before the sophomore struck out Clayton Alspaw to end the threat.
Scotland County put the game away in the bottom of the inning. Tyler Buford walked and Swearingen singled. Blessing singled to center field to make the score 10-1. Hull delivered a walk off base hit, plating pinch runner Will Pickerell with the game ending run to make the final score 11-1.
Buford improved to 10-0 on the mound, allowing un earned run in six innings of work. The sophomore held Louisiana to just four hits and three walks while striking out six.
Swearingen and Dodge each went 3-4 in the victory. Burkhiser was 2-3 with three RBIs and McKee was 1-2 with two runs driven in as Scotland County improved to 22-2 on the season.
The Tigers will host New Bloomfield (15-9) on Wednesday night, May 27th in Memphis. The Wildcats were 9-2 winners over Westran. In the other Class 2 state quarter finals, Bernie (24-5) will host Valle Catholic (27-5); and Miller (25-2) will host West Platte (18-5) in the upper half of the bracket. The other quarter final on SCR-I’s side of the bracket will feature Norwood (18-8) vs. Marionville (18-8).