The Franklin-Simpson Wildcats’ Middle School Baseball Team hosted the 13th District Middle School Baseball tournament at Greg Shelton Field this past Saturday.
The Wildcats, who entered the tournament as the regular season 13th District champions, lived up to their expectations as they did not allow a run in either game and defeated the Russellville Panthers and the Logan County Cougars to win the tournament championship.
“Great job by the entire team today,” Wildcats’ Middle School baseball head coach Eli Hurt said. “To allow no runs in both games and the ability to score runs in multiple ways shows how this team is. Pitching was great with Braylon (Turner) and Boy (Blanckenberg) as they did their job. Defense made some amazing plays and got some great hits and took advantage of some things at the plate. I am excited to see what they can do next on the varsity level.”
13th District SemifinalWildcats — 8 vs Panthers — 0 (4 innings)
In the opening round game of the 13th District Middle School Baseball Tournament, Franklin-Simpson advanced to the championship game with their victory over Russellville.
Kolton Turner picked up the win as he pitched a complete game throwing all four innings allowing one hit with six strikeouts.
“I went out there and let my defense work and threw strikes,” Turner said. “This game was fun, hot and it is what we expected. Everybody hit the ball well but we got to cut out the strikeouts if we are going to win the tournament.”
The Wildcats broke the game open in the bottom of the 2nd inning as with bases loaded and two outs, Ayden Jones’ two RBI double scored the first two runs of the game. Later, Blanckenberg delivered a two RBI single and Turner reached base on an error that also scored a run, making the score 5-0
“I hit a line drive gapper to center field to bring home the runners from second and third,” Jones said. “We hit the ball well and played some amazing defense ion this game. We had an error at third in the beginning of the game but other than that, we had great pitching, stopped the ball in front of us and we didn’t let them score.”
“When I go to the plate, I always focus on hitting the ball up the middle,” Blanckenberg said.
“Try to have fun with it all. Baseball is a sport about having fun and you have to have hits to win these games.”
Franklin-Simpson continued to score more runs in the bottom of the 3rd, all with no outs. RBI singles from Carson Kelley and Liam Heinze. Then with bases loaded, Blanckenberg drew an RBI walk that made the final score 8-0.
13th District ChampionshipWildcats — 2 vs Cougars — 0
Blanckenberg allowed two hits with three strikeouts and issued a walk as he pitched a complete game and the offense did just enough as Franklin-Simpson won the 13th District Middle School Baseball Tournament over Logan County.
“It wasn’t my best stuff but my defense played well behind me and made some great plays,” Branckenberg said. “They got a double play in one of the innings that ended a scoring chance along with some other key plays to win the championship this afternoon.”
The Wildcats applied pressure on the Cougars throughout the game. They had runners at first and second in the bottom of the 1st inning but could not get a run to cross the plate.
Their defense made some terrific plays as they pulled off a 4-6-3 (Braylon Turner, Liam Heinze and Kolton Turner) double play that ended Logan County’s scoring threat in the top of the 2nd.
Feeding off the momentum from their defense, Franklin-Simpson continued to apply pressure and was able to score a run as Braylon Turner hit an RBI single that scored Easton Kelley for a 1-0 lead.
“It was an important hit to get us going,” Turner said. “I saw the pitch was able to get a good swing on it. The hot was good enough to get Easton (Kelley) home for the first run of the game.”
The Wildcats added an insurance run in the bottom of the 4th as with Heinze on 2nd and Kelley on 3rd, Turner hit a fly ball to the outfield but throw to home got past the Cougars’ catcher and that allowed Kelley to score the insurance run that made the score 2-0.
“The second run came when Braylon (Turner) hit a fly ball to right but the throw was not very good,” Kelley said. “I started heading towards home on the throw and then I saw the ball bounce over the head of the catcher and I just took off. Didn’t hear the coach or nothing and was able to get to the plate before the tag.”
Logan County threatened to score in their final at bat but with two outs and a base runner at 3rd, Blanckenberg fielded a ground ball and flipped it to Kolton turner at first for the final out of the game that clinched the 13th District Middle School championship shutout for Franklin-Simpson. “It is truly a pleasure to coach this team,” Hurt said.
“Being a former player along with my assistant coaches, I can relate to where they are coming from and we pass along what we learned about the traditions and the way we do things here at Franklin-Simpson. This is a great group of kids and coach (Matt) Wilhite is excited to get them to play on the varsity and junior varsity level beginning next season. Great way to end a fantastic season.” .
The Wildcats finished their season with an overall record of 19-6 and 14 8th graders will now look to play baseball on the varsity or junior varsity level. The team is coached by head coach Eli Hurt and assistant coaches Donovan, Logan Alderson, and Cole Heinze, who are all Franklin-Simpson alumni varsity baseball players.
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