MOUNT VERNON — Baseball can be a funny game. Sometimes it doesn’t even take a hit to score a run.
The Knox County Royals did just that Friday, scoring the winning run in the seventh inning with the ball never leaving the infield. And with that, the Royals beat Worthington, 5-4, in the Mount Vernon tournament.
With the score tied at 4 with one out in the top of the seventh, K.C.’s Nick Mazgay reached on an error by Worthington third baseman Will Meador. He then stole second and moved to third on a ground out by J.D. Orr. Worthington catcher Collin Finn then tried to pick Mazgay off third, and the throw got away from Meador just far enough for Mazgay to score what proved to be the winning run.
“Nick got on and scored twice without getting a hit. That’s good,” Royals coach Mike King said. “We really didn’t hit the ball that well today.”
The Royals (6-2) had scored three runs in the third inning pretty much the same way. Nick Hoar reached safely on an error, moved up when Mazgay reached on another Worthington error and then went to third on a bunt single by Orr. Riley Swanson then smacked a two-run double. But bad base running cost the Royals a huge inning, as Orr held up at third and Swanson was picked off after he went too far past second. Orr did score on an ground out by Ryan Goetzman.
But, Worthington came back with three of its own in the bottom half of the third. Collin Chacey led off the inning with a triple and scored on a single by Matt Zuccaro. Two more singles and a sacrifice fly gave Worthington its final two runs of the inning.
Royals starting pitcher Brock Cutlip kept the team in the game with his wide array of pitches. Twice, Worthington got runners on, but Cutlip was able to get out without any damage. He gave up seven hits, while striking out four in 5 2/3 innings before giving way to Shawn Maxwell. Maxwell struck out two in his 1 1/3 innings.