After twice rallying from early deficits, Oil City's Junior League All-Stars couldn't overcome a four-run, fifth frame by Titusville in dropping a 9-5 decision on Tuesday evening in the losers' bracket final of the District 25 tournament at the Hasson Heights baseball complex.
Titusville struck first in the contest with two runs in the bottom of the first frame as Nate Stearns and Aston Burleigh set the table with back-to-back, one-out singles and Drew Wheeling followed by drawing a walk to load the bases. Hunter Thomas then came through with a two-run single to open up a 2-0 advantage off Oil City starter Jacob Teeter.
Oil City, however, quickly answered with two runs of their own off Titusville starter Kameron Mong in the top of the second to knot the game at 2-2.
With one out, Lincoln Kaufman and Jacob Van Wormer got things started with consecutive walks. After a groundout to second moved the baserunners over one spot, Kyle Beichner coaxed another walk to load the bases. Teeter stepped to the plate and delivered a two-run double while Beichner also motored around third looking to score the go-ahead run. But, he was gunned down at the plate by the relay throw from the outfield to end the frame.
Titusville once again took the lead with three runs on four hits in the bottom of the third. Stearns led off with a single before stealing second and moving to third on a wild pitch. He then scored on Burleigh's sacrifice fly to center for a 3-2 edge. Wheeling followed with a walk and stole second before scoring on Thomas' RBI single. Thomas moved over to second on a wild pitch before scoring on another single by Kasen Neely for a 5-2 advantage.
But, Oil City would not go down quietly as the all-stars plated two more runs in the top of the fourth to trim the deficit to 5-4. Caden Boyd led off with a single and Van Wormer followed by reaching on an error. Two batters later, Beichner delivered a run-scoring double to put runners at second and third, and Teeter came through with a sacrifice fly to center that scored Van Wormer from third.
Titusville's all-stars, however, had another big inning left in them and they tacked on four more runs in the bottom of the fifth despite collecting only one hit in the stanza.
Thomas got things going with a one-out walk and he proceeded to steal second while Neely followed by orchestrating another walk. Thomas then took off for third and he came around to score on an errant throw from the catcher that sailed down the left-field line. The error also allowed Neely to scamper over to second. Neely advanced to third on a wild pitch and then came home to score on a balk call for a 7-4 lead.
Mong and Kaleb Brunst kept the inning going with a walk and a hit-by-pitch, respectively, and two batters later, Stearns came through with a two-run single to open up a 9-4 advantage.
Oil City tried to answer again in the top of the sixth, but they were only able to add one more run to set the final score. James Henry reached on a one-out walk and Beichner followed with a single before Teeter added another single to plate Henry with the final run of the contest.
Burleigh pitched five innings in relief to get the win for Titusville as he allowed three runs (two earned) on six hits with four strikeouts and two walks.
Thomas led Titusville at the plate with two hits and three RBIs, Stearns had three hits and two RBIs, Mong contributed two hits, including a double while Burleigh and Neely each had a single and an RBI. Landon Baker and Landon Wolfkiel chipped in with a single apiece.
Teeter led Oil City with two hits, including a double, and four RBIs. Beichner also had two hits with a double and an RBI while Charlie Motter had a double and Justen Dunkle, Kaufman and Boyd added a single apiece.
Titusville will face New Bethelem for the title today at 6 p.m. at Oil City.