By Bob Flynn
Register Sports Writer
The Richmond National 11-12-year-old All-Stars lost a heartbreaker in the championship game of the District 3 Little League Tournament Tuesday at Lake Reba.
Eastern American pulled out a dramatic come-from-behind 7-6 victory in the bottom of the sixth inning on a walk-off two-run single by center fielder Seth Cowan.
Richmond jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead in the first inning in the battle between the two unbeaten teams.
Matthew McQuain doubled home Ethan Hahn — who reached base on an error — for the first run, then one batter later, Stephen Golson brought McQuain home with a single to right.
Eastern American got a run back in the bottom of the first off starter Devin Eckler to cut the lead to 2-1.
But Richmond quickly extended its lead in the second inning.
Brandon Adams got things going by drawing a two-out walk.
Hahn followed that with a single to center and Ben Snapp was hit by a pitch to load the bases.
McQuain then cleared the bases, lifting a two-strike pitch over the left-field fence for a grand slam to put Richmond on top 6-1.
After giving up the first-inning run, Eckler shut down the Eastern American’s offense, cruising through the next three innings without giving up a hit, while recording three strikeouts.
The score remained 6-1 until the bottom of the fifth inning when Eastern American finally broke through against Eckler.
Eastern got to within 6-4 on an inning-opening walk and back-to-back homers.
After Eckler got Payton Henry to ground to first for the second out of the inning, Cameron King reached on an infield single and Cole Gannan doubled to put runners on second and third, chasing Eckler from the mound.
Snapp came on in relief and on his second pitch to the plate, McQuain’s throw back to the mound sailed over Snapp’s glove allowing King to score to pull Eastern to within a run at 6-5.
Snapp then struck out Clay Callahan to end the inning.
In the bottom of the sixth, Snapp retired the first two batters, but then walked the next two batters, setting the stage for Cowan’s game-ending single.
Eckler pitched well, going 4 2/3 innings, giving up six hits and three walks, while striking out seven Eastern batters.
Snapp took the loss for Richmond, going 1 1/3 inning, giving up two walks and one hit and striking out two batters.
McQuain led the way at the plate, accounting for five of Richmond’s runs on a double and the grand slam.
Golson had a single and an RBI, while Eckler had a double and Hahn, Beck and Snapp each had one single.
11-year-olds finish strong
After dropping its first two games at the District 3 Tournament in Lawrenceburg, the Richmond All-Stars put together a winning performance on Monday.
Caleb Rice and Zachary Purvis each hit two-run home runs as Richmond finished up tournament play with a 12-10 win over Harrison County.
Richmond finished pool play 1-2 and did not advance to the semifinals.
Rice was 4-for-4 with four runs scored.
Les Shepherd started for Richmond on the mound. Rice pitched two innings and Jakob Tharp each pitched.