On Thursday, the home-standing Crook County Cowboys summer baseball program split a pair of games with the Newport Cubs.
In a morning game, the Cowboy varsity squad overcame an early deficit to take a 7-5 win in the first game of a doubleheader. In game two, the Cowboys fielded a younger team, made up primarily of middle school players. Although the youthful squad was in the game at the beginning, they gradually fell behind, suffering a 12-4 defeat.
In game one, the Cowboys gave up a pair of early runs. Then, with Cole Little providing solid pitching in the middle innings, the Cowboys came from behind to build a big lead.
Crook County scored three runs in the third inning and added two more in the fourth as they built a 5-2 lead.
The Cowboys took advantage of five singles, two stolen bases and a Newport error to score their three third-inning runs, then took advantage of two singles, three errors and a fielder's choice to score their two fourth-inning runs.
With Little pitching shutout ball, the Cowboys continued to build a lead, scoring a sixth run in the bottom half of the fifth inning to increase their lead to 6-1.
Little got into trouble in the fifth inning when he gave up a one-out double. The runner then went to third on a botched pickoff attempt. However, later in the inning the baserunner was picked off of third on an outstanding throw by catcher Brody Connell.
A walk, a stolen base and a single to left put runners on the corners with two outs. However, the next batter lined out to short for the third out of the inning.
The Cowboys scored their sixth-inning run on a Payton Faust infield single followed by a Riley Foreman double to right field.
Crook County pulled Little from the mound prior to the start of the sixth inning and Newport quickly capitalized.
Relief pitcher Augustus Williams-Groth struggled to find the plate, sandwiching a single between a walk and a hit batter as Newport loaded the bases.
Williams struck out the next batter he faced before going to a 3-2 count on the fifth batter of the inning. The Newport batter fouled off three consecutive balls before finally picking up a walk, scoring Newport's first run of the inning.
With the bases still loaded, the Cowboys replaced Williams-Groth on the mound with Carson Smith.
Once again, the Newport batter fouled off a series of pitches on a 3-2 count before finally earning a walk for the second Newport run of the inning.
The next batter flew out to center field, but the runner on third tagged his base and easily scored on the play.
However, the Cowboys got out of the inning as the Newport runner on second base got careless and strayed too far from the bag.
Instead of throwing to the plate, the Cowboys cut the ball off at second base, picking the base runner off and ending the inning.
Leading by just a run, the Cowboys added an insurance run in the bottom half of the sixth inning.
Brody Connell walked to start the inning, then moved to second on a Tad Anderson sacrifice bunt.
Will Combee then ripped a hard shot up the middle, scoring Connell, before Diego Smith flew out to center field to end the inning.
Carson Smith gave up a single to left to start the top half of the seventh. The next Newport batter singled to right, leaving runners on first and second.
On the next pitch, the Cubs attempted a double steal, however, once again, Connell threw the runner out at third for the first out of the inning.
Smith then struck out the next batter he faced before forcing the final Newport batter of the game into a ground out to short.
Little picked up the win for the Cowboys while Smith earned the save.
Game two did not go as well for the Cowboys.
Anderson pitched the first inning for the Cowboys and walked the first Newport batter he faced. The next batter laid down a perfect sacrifice bunt, moving the runner to second.
Anderson struck out the next batter he faced for the second out of the inning. An error by Crook County's shortstop left runners on the corners. However, Anderson was able to get out of the jam when the next batter flied out to center field for the final out of the inning.
The Cowboys quickly took the lead in the bottom half of the inning.
Ozzie Reed and Matthew Delapena singled to start the inning before Louie Duran walked to load the bases.
Reed scored on a wild pitch as Delapena and Duran went to second and third.
Easton Perrin then struck out for the first out of the inning. However, the Newport catcher attempted to throw Delapena out at third on the play. Instead, the ball sailed into left field. Delapena then broke toward home plate, where he was thrown out for the second out of the inning. However, Duran went to third on the play.
Clayton Gibson then reached base on an error as Duran scored from third.
Ben Sather then reached base on the Cubs' second error of the inning. However, Gibson was thrown out attempting to steal third, ending the inning.
Faust came in to pitch for Anderson to start the second inning and immediately got into trouble.
Newport scored five runs in the inning off of a Crook County error, a walk, four singles, and a double as they took a 5-2 lead.
The Cowboys responded with a run of their own in the bottom half of the second as Faust doubled, stole second, then stole home.
Williams-Groth replaced Faust on the mound for the third inning and had much better control than he did in the first game.
In two innings of work, Williams-Groth struck out four batters and didn't allow a hit.
Meanwhile, Duran doubled with one out in the third inning but was thrown out at third while attempting to stretch the hit into a triple.
The Cowboys threatened again in the bottom of the fourth as Christian Whitefield-Taylor walked and Sather was hit by a pitch. The two Cowboys advanced to second and third on a wild pitch.
However, Whitefield-Taylor was picked off third, following a strikeout, ending the Cowboy scoring threat.
Carson Smith replaced Williams-Groth on the mound to start the fifth inning and struggled, giving up six runs on four singles, a double, two walks, and a pair of errors.
Perrin replaced Smith on the mound for the sixth inning and gave up the Cubs' final run of the game on a pair of singles, two wild pitches and a walk.
The Cowboys scored their final run of the game in the bottom half of the inning as Duran singled up the middle to start the inning. Duran then stole second before Perrin hit a line drive single to center, putting runners on the corners.
Whitefield-Taylor then hit into a double play, but Duran was able to score from third before the Cubs were able to get the final out of the inning.
Perrin gave up a single again in the top of the seventh inning before striking out the next batter he faced. The next Newport batter grounded into a fielder's choice before Mitch Warren snared a hard line drive at short for the final out of the inning.
The Cowboys tried to rally in the bottom half of the seventh as they loaded the bases on a pair of walks and a hit batter.
However, Duran, who went two-for-three from the plate in the game, including a double, flew out to right field for the final out of the game as the Cubs held on for the 12-4 win.