Battle Creek – A two-run seventh inning propelled the Shelby-Osceola-Stromsburg juniors to the Class C state championship game.
SOS opened up a 2-2 tie in the seventh inning with two runs, eliminating St. Paul, 4-2 from the tournament Tuesday night. Once again, great pitching and defense by both squads kept it a close game the entire evening.
In the first inning, SOS would take the first lead on an RBI single by Mickey Hoatson. St. Paul would answer in the bottom of the frame as SOS starting pitcher Mickey Hoatson struggled to find his command. Hoatson walked in a run with the bases loaded to tie the game. Fortunately for SOS, St. Paul couldn’t take advantage of the situation with only one out as the next two batters struck out and flew out. It was 1-1 at the end of one.
SOS retook the lead as once again Hoatson delivered an RBI single, but it was a short lived advantage. St. Paul drove in the tying run on an RBI single by Jackson Seward to tie the game, 2-2 after three.
Pitching would take over the game from there. The two offenses combined for only four hits the next three innings.
SOS came to life in the seventh inning as the first two batters were walked and hit by a pitch. Bailey Belt drove in the go ahead run with a single into center field. Two batters later, Austin Coffin added some insurance with a sacrifice fly to left field.
Keaton Van Housen came in for the save and did just that. He breezed through the St. Paul lineup, striking out two of the four batters he faced.
Eli Larson picked up the loss for St. Paul after pitching six innings, allowing four hits, two runs, walked five and punched out six.
The win went to SOS starter Mickey Hoatson who pitched six innings, allowed five hits, two runs, walked four and struck out four. Van Housen was credited with the save.
SOS faces Pender in the state championship tonight. Pender must beat SOS twice in order for them to win the title. SOS won their only state championship in 2008. First pitch is set for 8 p.m. Catch the game on 104.9 Max Country and online at 1049maxcountry.com.
SOS beat Pender in the opening round of the tournament, 10-9.