THURMONT — Thurmont Little League had already scored two runs before the Four County Little League 11-12 All Stars went to bat in the first inning.
Jonah Oetken singled and Kyle Humbel struck out, giving Jack Scarzello a chance to give Four County some more momentum. Scarzello smacked a home run to center and brought Oetken in to score to tie the hosts 2-2.
Four County wasn’t finished yet. Thompson’s single brought Caleb Kearns and AJ Korkosz in to score, good for a 4-2 lead with two outs. Four County never lost its lead and defeated Thurmont 8-5 in the opening game of the District 2 tournament Saturday morning at Leiman Field.
“It felt good because it was the tying run, almost,” said Humbel, an infielder. “It started off the inning for us to get the momentum.”
Humbel, a Mount Airy native, notched two hits in the win. Kearns had three hits and Cooper Thompson had two hits and RBIs apiece.
Four County utilized two pitchers against Thurmont, Kearns and JP Schultz. Schultz threw 65 pitches and got the win. Kearns entered in the fourth inning with Four County leading 7-4 and he collected 47 pitches.
“I think they did what we’ve asked them to do all year is hang in there for six innings and sometimes you have to grind them out against good teams,” said Four County manager Jason Evans. “They handled the ups and the downs and reacted accordingly.”
The double-elimination tournament started with four games around the region, and continues through July 12. Brunswick, East Frederick, Frederick National, reigning champ Montgomery County Lower, Montgomery County Upper, and Mountain Valley join Four County and Thurmont in the tournament field.
The 11-12 All-Stars advance to face Frederick National on Sunday at 3 p.m. in Frederick.
Humbel tripled to help Four County keep its offense afloat in the second inning and Scarzello advanced to second on an error. Kearns doubled to bring Humbel in to score and Scarzello stole home to give Four County a 5-2 lead.
Thurmont pitcher Ethan Burkhart brought two runners in with a single in the third inning to bring the team within two of Four County, 6-4. Thurmont used four pitchers against Four County — TJ Pickett replaced Burkhart at the bottom of the third inning after Burkhart threw 50 pitches.
Kearns struck out three Thurmont batters in the fourth inning and but Thurmont responded with a strong defensive front to keep Four County’s baserunners from advancing. Each team scored one more run, but Four County stayed on top.
Four County notched nine hits total and Thurmont grabbed seven. Thurmont faces Mountain Valley n the elimination bracket on Sunday at 3.
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“I think a lot of these guys have been playing together for years and they have confidence in each other,” Evans said. “They know that if one player comes out and another player goes in the energy stays up, the confidence stays up and they know they have each other support all the way through the game. Especially at this age, with Little League baseball, that is very effective.”