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Madison-Grant 12Us top Oak Hill for district title

MOUND MEETING: Madison-Grant 12U all star coach Mike Evans (second from rigth) instructs his team during a bases-loaded, one-out situation in the top of the fifth against Oak Hill Monday evening. The Argylls got out of the inning with a double play grounder to third and held on to top the Eagles 5-2 in the Town and Country District IV championship game in Frankton.

BY SCOTT HUNT - shunt@chronicle-tribune.com

FRANKTON — Through its first three games of the Town and Country District IV tourney, the Madison-Grant 12-and-under all star team has battered teams offensively with a barrage of home runs and aggressive base running, but the Argylls had to rely on its pitching and defense to get past Oak Hill Monday evening.

M-G had plated 41 runs and hit nearly half of the 21 total dingers the tournament saw in easy wins over Blackford, Frankton and Mississinewa. But hits were hard to come by for the Argylls against Oak Hill pitchers Avery Mills and Talan Hamilton. Just as difficult for Golden Eagles hitters against M-G pitchers Jashaun Randolph and Xavier Yeagy.

Both teams still had scoring chances and Madison-Grant capitalized most often in its, 5-2 victory.

“I’d rather have a defensive game like that than an offensive game like we’ve been having,” said M-G coach Mike Evans. “We’ve been killing the ball and tonight the bats weren’t there but the defense was there, the defense should always be there. That was a defensive-hustle game all game long. It was awesome.”

The Argylls scratched out a run in the bottom of the first on a one-out single by Gavin Kelich and a two-out base hit from Ty Evans to drive him in.

Randolph struck out six of the first seven hitters he faced, allowing just a one-out walk to Peyton Workman in the second. 

The bottom of Oak Hill’s order started an Eagle rally in the third as Bryce Gibson and Gavin Hazelwood each had one-out infield singles before Hamilton followed with a single to center scoring Gibson and tying the game at 1-1.

The Argylls threatened to have a big inning in their third, and did re-take the lead, 2-1, on an RBI fielder’s choice from Evans with the bases loaded.

A pair of good defensive plays by Oak Hill catcher Lucas Humphries prevented more runs from M-G. Humphries quickly scrambled to retrieve a wild pitch then tossed to Mills covering home to record the first out after the Argylls had loaded the bases. With two outs Humphries threw a strike to third baseman Jackson Lamb and picked off Randolph straying too far off the base to end the threat.

Oak Hill left two runners on base in the top of the fourth, and Madison-Grant added to its advantage on Max Franklin’s RBI single to score Maverick Miller making it, 3-1 Argylls.

With one out in the fifth, the Eagles put together another great scoring change when Hazelwood drew a one-out walk and both Hamilton and Owen Jackson had singles.

Coach Evans visited Yeagy on the mound, and said he thought about taking Yeagy out before deciding to hang with him. Turned out to be the right call.

Matthew O’Banion’s hard grounder down the third-base line was snared by Miller, who alertly stepped on third and fired a strike to Randolph at first to nip the runner and end the threat with a clutch double play.

Asked what was going through his mind before facing O’Banion, Yeagy was honest. 

“A lot of things actually,” Yeagy said. “I knew my team would back me up, I just did what I needed to do, pitch and throw strikes.

“Oak Hill is a good team so we had to be ready before the game. It just came in our favor,” he added.

Kelich led off M-G’s fifth with a single and Randolph followed with a walk before Braiden Ross delivered a line-drive hit to left the turned into a bad-hop, two-RBI double and a 5-1 lead for the Argylls.

Workman drew a one-out walk in the Oak Hill sixth, advanced to second on a passed ball and scored on a throwing error for the final run of the game.

Madison-Grant finished with six hits and Oak Hill had five.

Randolph pitched four innings for the Argylls with seven strikeouts, two walks and just four hits and one run allowed to earn the win.

Yeagy pitched the final two giving up just two hits and picking up a save.

Mills had three Ks, four walks and allowed three hits in his three innings of pitching for the Eagles. Hamilton had a strikeout and two walks in his two innings on the mound.

Oak Hill’s pitching was nearly exhausted after it had to work its way through the loser’s bracket. The Eagles played back-to-back games on Sunday, beating Eastbrook 17-1 then outslugging Ole Miss, 17-12, to avenge the opening round, 7-4 loss that necessitated the long trip to Monday evening.

“It was just one of those games, a 50-50 game, they’re a good baseball team ... and we’re going to see them plenty of times,” said Oak Hill coach Jordan Lamb of Madison-Grant. “Hopefully next time we can get on the winner’s bracket side of it and make them beat us twice.

“We get up for a game like this because we’re the only team that’s played with them,” he added. “They’ve 10-runned everybody else, but we know we can play them, and we’re right there with them.”  

Monday’s game was the third meeting in just seven days between the Eagles and Argylls. And future matchups are likely as both teams, along with Mississinewa and Eastbrook out of district IV, head to Town and Country Semistate II in Walton starting Wednesday evening.

Results of the 10-and-under championship between Mississinewa and host-Alexandria weren’t know late Monday night.