FARMINGTON — SZ Morrissey got one win closer to earning the host team bid, topping the Sting 4-1 in a battle of the only two unbeaten teams in the Connie Mack City Tournament at Ricketts Park Thursday.
"We knew it was going to be a good game today," SZ Morrissey coach Adam Morrissey said. "They're (the Sting) playing really good baseball, and we knew it was going to be tough. We knew we had to come in prepared, and they gave us every bit of them tonight."
On the mound for SZ Morrissey was Easton Haskill, who got the start against his former club.
"It kind of seemed like they were excited to go up against (Haskill)," Sting coach Tim Trotter said of his team. "Honestly, they were kind of pumped and wanted to see if they could get some hits off of him."
The Sting started strong, scoring in the top of the first inning to take a 1-0 lead.
But SZ Morrissey answered with a run of its own in the bottom of the inning to tie it.
SZ Morrissey added two more runs in the bottom of the second, courtesy of an RBI single from nine-hole hitter Bryce Washburn, taking a 3-1 lead.
In the top of the fourth, the Sting took a big blow when Justin Nakai went down with a knee injury on his way to first. Nakai remained down for a couple minutes before being helped up and carried off the field, unable to put any weight on the injured knee.
"They think maybe he hyperextended it, but we don't know yet," Trotter said of Nakai's injury. "He had terrible pain on the outside of his knee. I was nervous. I just hope Justin is OK — he's been a big part of this club. We just hope he's healthy."
SZ Morrissey added another run in the fourth on an RBI double from Matt Knickerbocker. In the next at-bat, Justin Rowe reached after being hit by a pitch to load the bases with one out. But in the next at-bat, Nathan Garley hit into a one-two-three double play to end the inning.
The Sting threatened in the top of the sixth, getting runners on first and second with no outs, but SZ Morrissey got out of the inning without any damage.
With the double-elimination format, the Sting is still alive and will play the 4C-Clubsox at 5:30 this evening in an elimination game at Ricketts Park.
The win keeps SZ Morrissey's record unblemished in the tournament and sets up a meeting with the 14ers at 8 tonight at Ricketts Park.
"We know that every team we play is going to give us their best, so we can't take any team for granted," Morrissey said. "There's still a lot of baseball left over these next two days, and we're going to come prepared."
14ers advance with win over the Halos
The 14ers blew past the Halos 10-1 to remain one of four teams still alive in the Connie Mack City Tournament at Ricketts Park Thursday.
After jumping to a 3-0 lead after the first inning, the 14ers put together a six-run, two-out rally in the top of the second to blow the game open.
"We were finally aggressive at the plate," 14ers coach Jared Qualls said. "We did a good job at the plate, and they helped us out with some errors. We hit the ball solid, but more than anything, we were patient and waited to get the pitches we wanted."
The Halos had a chance to cut into the 14ers' lead in the bottom of the second, getting the bases loaded with two outs. But first baseman Dewayne White struck out looking to end the inning.
"We played pretty well on defense today, and I don't think we had any errors," Qualls said. "It was better defense than we've played all year up here. I don't think we've played a game where we didn't have any errors. I think getting our bats going took some pressure off our defense. They were able to go out and play relaxed and not worry about one error losing the game for them."
In the bottom of the third, the Halos got on the scoreboard with Dylan Begay driving in Byron Dedman to make it 9-1, but that was all the offense the Halos could muster.
The 14ers added an insurance run in the top of the fifth to stretch the lead to nine runs.
The loss ends the Halos' season while the 14ers will play SZ Morrissey at 8 tonight at Ricketts Park.
"I just want them to come out play relaxed," Qualls said. "(SZ Morrissey) is typically one of the teams we play well against. I think because they (SZ Morrissey) have a couple kids from Bayfield (Colo.) that our guys usually play high school ball with gets our guys up a little more than they would for any other team."