MOUNT VERNON — With a 7-2 lead, going into the bottom of the fourth, the Mount Vernon 10-year-old All-Stars had one idea in mind — run rule — and that is just what they did.
Mount Vernon scored five runs on four hits to put away Northwest Licking, 12-2, in Friday’s run-rule-shortened District 5 Little League Tournament game. Mount Vernon’s Caleb Fry scored the final run on an RBI single by Sam Kuhn. It appeared that Fry would be tagged out coming down the third base line, but he made a spectacular leaping dive over Northwest Licking catcher Tyler Arter at home plate as Arter was fielding the ball. He landed, safe at home, to end the game.
“My coach always says when there’s two out and a runner on third, I’m going no matter what happens,” said Fry. “When I was running down (toward home plate), I didn’t see the ball coming. The catcher ran over to grab it. I knew that, if I hit the catcher, I’d be out, if he was going after the ball. I had to try to jump over him. I just thought that I’d try something that they do in the Major Leagues.”
It was thrilling finish for players, fans and coaches alike.
“That was quite a feat of athleticism for a 10-year-old to have the awareness to leap over like that,” said Mount Vernon coach Bryan Grabon. “When you look at him, he’s always dirty, so he’s 100 percent boy. That’s stuff you can’t teach. That’s natural.”
It was Arter, who scored the first run for Northwest Licking on a first-inning double by teammate Hunter Verhovec. That would be the team’s only lead of the game.
Mount Vernon opened the first with a walk by Brayden Spearman, who stole second and scored on Kamden Breckler’s RBI single. Breckler, Aaron Stallard and Ryan Tiell scored later in the inning to give Mount Vernon a 4-1 lead.
In the top of the third, Arter scored again on an RBI single by Blake Crow to cut the Mount Vernon lead to two.
Mount Vernon scored more runs in the third inning. With Caleb McNichol standing on third, Landon Fry socked a run-scoring ground rule double. Landon would eventually score and so would teammate Ryan Tiell to make it a 7-2 Mount Vernon lead.
In the top of the fourth, Northwest Licking had runners on first and second with one out. Hunter Verhovec hit a liner to Landon at first, who caught the ball and stepped on first to double up Arter and end the inning.
Up by five, Mount Vernon went to work. Spearman led off with a walk and scored on a two-out hit by Landon Fry. Stallard followed with an RBI single. Tiell added another single to drive in Landon and the speedy Stallard.