Edward Little shortstop Austin Brown snags the ball on a soft line drive during a game against Oxfrod Hills in Auburn on Thursday.

AUBURN — With 10 errors between them, Edward Little and Oxford Hills made Thursday’s KVAC baseball tilt a game of give and take.

The Vikings committed three of their four errors in a five-run fifth that gave the Red Eddies their first lead. It turned out to be the only lead they would need, because the Red Eddies were no longer in a giving mood.

EL rallied from a 4-1 deficit thanks to some fine relief pitching by Tyler Libby, then C.J. Jipson shut the door with two innings of scoreless relief for an 8-5 win at Auburn Suburban Little League’s Austin Field.

Both teams are now 6-2.

“We practice a lot of situations and moments with adversity, and we’re ready for everything,” said designated hitter Grant Hartley, who hit his second home run in as many days. “If we keep our heads straight and play the way that we can, we’re fine.”

“It was nice to see. A win like this is a great character win,” EL coach Dave Jordan said. “It goes along with the things we talk about battling through to the end, especially against an opponent like Oxford Hills because they’re a very good team.”

“We needed outs in one inning and we gave them some — a tough-hop error and the other two, if we get outs on those plays, then we have a whole different ball game,” Oxford Hills coach Shane Slicer said.

The tough hop victimized Vikings’ shortstop Brayden Bean and got the Eddies’ winning rally going with one out in the fifth trailing 5-3. After Jarod Norcross Plourde doubled to left, the Vikings issued their second intentional walk of the day to Hartley to load the bases. 

Mason Brushwein followed with a grounder to the right side, but the second baseman’s throw to second, which might have been too late to get Hartley anyway, went into left field, scoring the tying runs.

Libby followed with a bunt that was misplayed by the first baseman, loading the bases again. Jipson’s ground out to second plated Hartley with the go-ahead run, and Ian Brushwein followed with a two-out, two-run single to make it 8-5.

Jipson’s relief outing started with a good omen when shortstop Austin Brown made an excellent diving catch to his left to rob Cam Slicer of a base hit.Only the sixth EL error, which came with two out in the seventh, prevented Jipson from a perfect, two-inning save. 

“You’ve got to give their bullpen credit. They came in and did a great job,” Slicer said. “We hit the ball fairly hard and they made the plays.”

It didn’t start out that way. After Troy Johnson’s RBI single gave the Vikings a 1-0 lead in the first, the Eddies made two errors in the second, although they ended up partially redeemed themselves.

Slicer’s two-out RBI single made it 2-0. Hunter LaBossiere then dropped down a suicide squeeze that Norcross Plourde charged from the mound but had roll under his glove. Wyatt Williamson scored from third, but a hustling Jipson charged in from second base to field the ball and throw Slicer, who was trying to score from second, out at the plate to keep it at 3-0.

“They got on Plourde a little bit. Their approach against Plourde was great. I can’t complain,” Slicer said. “We’ve won some close games. We beat Cony by a run (on Tuesday) so we’re in it, and I’m proud of the way they’ve come to fight every day.”

Hartley’s home run to right-center in the bottom of the second cut the margin to 3-1.

“I thought it was better hit than the one (Thursday), to be honest with you,” said Hartley, whose previous homer was a grand slam in an 8-4 win over Messalonskee. “I’m not out here trying to hit a home run. I’m just trying to do what’s good for the team.”

The Vikings got the run back after loading the bases on an error, walk and bunt single to chase Plourde with no one out in the third. Libby took the mound and did a great job of limiting the damage, allowing just one of his inherited runners to score with a ground out, pop out and strikeout.

“Once one of the (Oxford Hills) kids rolled over to short, I knew that was the only run I was going to give up,” Libby said. “Right when I heard the dugout start cheering (after the third out), I got butterflies, because I knew my team was excited.”

EL built on the momentum in their half of the third, helped by a leadoff error. Norcross Plourde made it 4-2 with a sacrifice fly. After an intentional pass to Hartley, Mason Brushwein ripped a two-out RBI single to pull the Eddies within a run.

After a 1-2-3 fourth, Libby allowed three hits and the Eddies committed an error in the fifth, but all the Vikings could muster out of it was one run on Bean’s RBI single to make it 5-3.

Jarod Norcross Plourde of Edward Little pitches to Oxford Hills’ Brayden Bean during their game in Auburn on Thursday.Edward Little runner Tyler Blanchard, left, pops out of his slide after getting home safely before the throw reached Oxford Hills catcher Wyatt Williamson during their game in Auburn on Thursday.Oxford Hills’ Wyatt Williamson strikes the ball during a game against Edward Little in Auburn on Thursday. The ball flew high into the air for a pop out to the shortstop.

Oxford Hills’ Spencer Hurd dives back to first base safely before Edward Little first baseman Tyler Blanchard can apply the tag during their game in Auburn on Thursday.


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