As the sun set just beyond Lt. Col. Jack P. Williams Field, you could hear thunder in the distance. Fortunately, there was no lightning in sight, allowing the District 25 10U All-Star game between Franklin and Titusville to be played in its etirety - sort of.
With some of the most chaotic baseball you've seen, Franklin managed to run away with the opening-round game of the all-star tournament in five innings, 11-1.
Manager Donny Jones' squad wreaked havoc on the basepaths by stealing five bases throughout the game with plenty more coming by way of the wild pitch.
"I'm the type of coach that forces the play. If you steal and they make the play, hats off to them," Jones said of his team's style of play. "The more baserunning we do, it gets them out of their rhythm."
Franklin's Landon Jones got the nod as the starting pitcher and promptly struck out the first batter he saw, one of five whiffs on the day in just two and a third innings of work.
Jones walked the next batter before Titusville's Parker Miller roped a line drive that could not be handled by Franklin second baseman Damian Cassano. However, Cassano recovered quickly to pick it up and fire it to second for the force out. Jones struck out the next hitter to end the inning.
In the bottom of the first, Cassano got the Franklin offense up and running with a base hit to centerfield. On the next two pitches, Cassano stole first and second to put himself in prime scoring position for Nolan Parry. Parry blooped a single into leftfield that scored Cassano, giving Franklin an early 1-0 lead.
Preston Keith was due up next and layed down a bunt that allowed Parry to go to second. When Parry arrived at second base, the Franklin side errupted when it noticed third base was left uncovered. Parry took third with ease. Jordy Jones brought Parry home with an RBI double, giving Franklin a 2-0 lead.
Landon Jones struck out the side in the next inning, but ran into some trouble on the mound in the third inning. After Titusville's Blake Schmidt grounded out to Cassano, Ian Stearns laced a single into rightfield for Titusville's third baserunner of the night. In an unusual turn of events, the next batter, Dalton Knapp, walked and rounded first hard on his way down. The hard turn drew the attention of the Franklin catcher who fired it to first in an attempt to throw Knapp out. Knapp was safe, however, and Stearns broke for home following the throw and managed to score Titusville's first and only run. After the run scored, Knapp ran for second, but was cut down and tagged out for the second out of the inning. Parry came on in relief and struck out Titusville's Jackson Oviat to end the frame.
Landon Jones led off the next inning with a walk prior to Cassano reaching on an error. After the ball was thrown around in a flurry of errors, Jones scored to make it 3-1. Later in the inning, Cassano led off third after a pitch that drew a throw. The throw sailed over the third baseman's head, allowing Cassano to score. Parry singled and Keith also singled to bring home Parry making it 5-1 Franklin.
The relief tandem of Parry and Jordy Jones held down the fort as the two went a combined two shutout innings, striking out three.
Franklin would score six runs in the fifth inning on just one hit, four walks, two wild pitches and a stolen base. The six runs would make the score 11-1, bringing the mercy rule into play to end the game.
Franklin will travel to Clarion in the winner's bracket final at 7:30 p.m. on Monday.