ROUND ROCK, Texas – Linden-Kildare’s pitching and defense continues to be a formula for success.
The Tigers will play defending champion Dallardsville Big Sandy (35-4) for the Class 2A state baseball championship Thursday at Dell Diamond after eliminating Valley Mills in the semifinals, 5-0. Dallardsville advanced with a 4-1 win over Albany.
L-K (21-9) got brilliant pitching from senior Jacob Owen, and errorless play from its defense in blanking the Eagles.
Chase Bynum scored what proved to be the only run the Tigers would need in the third. He reached on an error by the shortstop, moving up when Dalton Alford was safe on another Valley Mills miscue. Owen walked to load the bases, Bynum scoring two pitches later on Duece Shuler’s single. Losing pitcher Chase Keeton escaped further trouble with two strikeouts.
Owen and Keeton held their respective opponents silent until the seventh. That’s when Keeton was the victim of some shoddy play by his defense. The Tigers scored four unearned runs without the benefit of a hit.
Tigers’ defense difference in outcome
Colt Neville walked, with Justin Dunlap coming in to pinch-run. Trent Wert forced Dunlap at second for the first out. Chase Bynum was then hit by a pitch, Dalton Alford safe on an error by the third baseman, which allowed Wert to score and make it 2-0.
That put runners at second and third, and Keeton was ordered to walk Owen intentionally. It might have worked if not for Nic Kunze’s long fly to right field being dropped for a three-base error and three runs.
Alford, Shuler and Kunze had the Tigers’ three hits. Keeton, Tyler Philipp and Caden Collins had Valley Mills’ only hits.
In going the distrance, Owen walked one and struck out two. Keeton also pitched seven innings, walking three and striking out 10. All five runs off Keeton were unearned.