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Ho, hum! Another youth baseball championship for a Chris Bass-coached Wilson City Little League All-Star team.
Following teams that seized North Carolina Little League District 6 titles in 2015, 2016 and 2017, his 2018 team made it four in a row with a 6-0 triumph against Bull City in the District 6 Ages 9-11 final in Southern Bank Stadium on Tuesday night.
Wilson, undefeated in three tournament games, capitalized upon Bull City’s defensive woes to plate five runs in the bottom of the third inning and then rode the one-hit pitching of big right-hander Joe Glover into the state tournament, scheduled for July 6-13 in Wilson. Bass’ teams have lost in the state finals each of the previous two years.
“Every one is as good as the last one,” Bass said. “Same feeling, same nerves. It’s a wonderful accomplishment for this team. They deserve it.”
Head coach Jess McKnight took little solace in Bull City’s 2-2 record and runner-up finish.
“You are never satisfied when you don’t win,” he declared. “This is what you train for three weeks — win the district championship. We just fell a little short.”
Glover flirted with a no-hitter until, on a three balls, two strikes pitch, Bull City first baseman Sam Bowers lunged at a high, outside pitch and dropped a single into center field with two outs in the fifth inning.
“It was a blooper,” Glover commented. “I was kind of disappointed (at losing the no-hitter).”
Glover needed just 61 pitches, striking out five and issuing no walks.
“My fastball was doing good and my curveball was excellent,” Glover noted.
Bass revealed that he did not call for Glover to throw a breaking pitch until the fourth inning and Glover said he threw just five curves.
“I knew he would pitch well,” Bass said, “but I don’t know that you can expect that kind of performance out of anybody. He is one of our team leaders and he came ready to pitch. He can’t pitch any better; that was awesome.”
Catcher Ryan Bass banged out two of Wilson’s four hits, including a timely run-scoring double in the third. Right fielder Josh Taylor’s single launched the uprising. The big inning included two walks, a hit batsman and three Bull City errors that resulted in wild abandon on the basepaths for Wilson.
“We made three errors that probably cost us three runs,” McKnight reasoned.
Regarding Bull City’s inability to hit Glover, McKnight responded: “We practiced against older guys because we knew they had a couple of fast pitchers. But we were getting under (the pitches).”
Glover induced nine fly-ball outs.
Glover also collected Wilson’s other hit, an RBI single in the fifth.
“I was exceptionally pleased,” Chris Bass evaluated Wilson’s performance. “We knew they were very scrappy; we knew they were not going to lay down.”
The championship was the third for Ryan Bass, Connor Radford, Carter Adams, Seth Evans, Glover, Deandre Sellars, Taylor, Ross Hinnant and Evan Ferrell.
“They all feel the same,” Ryan Bass contended.
Chimed in Glover: “This was a good one because we can go back to the state. But pitching a one-hitter in the championship game was great.”