Jay Estes’ single in the bottom of the seventh plated a pair of runs to give Next Level 18 a 10-9 win over the Big Bend Bears Sunday at Rickards Field.
The win eliminated the Bears from the Next Level Tournament after they had won their first three games in the tournament.
The Bears suffered pitching woes in the elimination game as 11 walks and two hit batsmen helped Next Level 18 in getting their 10 runs.
In spit of the hurling woes, Big Bend almost won the game, getting 12 hits in the contest.
Taylor Mauck (Blountstown) led the attack with three hits. Taylor Wood (Blountstown) had two hits including a long home run. Hunter Jordan (Blountstown), Brad Middleton (Marianna) and Jacky Miles, Jr. (Holmes County) also added two hits each.
The Bears won their first game of the tournament Friday morning when Tom Watson (Lincoln) pitched them past Powermill 4-0.
Watson allowed only three hits and one walk in six scoreless innings. Kole Forehand (Holmes County) blanked Powermill their last at bat to complete the shutout.
Miles and Jordan Worthing (Holmes County) each had two hits with Worthing and Myles Edwards (Munroe) driving in the runs.
Friday afternoon Big Bend trailed Lake Region 2-0 in the bottom of the sixth when they exploded for six runs.
Mauck singled and Miles walked to start the inning. Wood then singled in Mauck before a walk to Worthing loaded the bases. Edwards’ walk forced in the tying run, setting up Walker Roberts’ (Marianna) bases-clearing double that put the Bears ahead for the first time. Middleton singled in Roberts for the Bears’ final run, giving them a 6-2 lead.
Adam Dewitt (Marianna) finished his complete game escaping some last inning trouble to nail down the 6-3 win.
DeWitt gave up seven hits and fanned four.
Big Bend’s next game started Sunday morning at Leon before a rainstorm forced it to be moved to Rickards. The Bears won the game 6-4 over Next Level 16. Maulk slapped two hits. David Black (Liberty Co.), Middleton, and Wood also had key hits for the Bear offense.
Roberts was the winning pitcher and Alex Gay (Munroe) got the save. The victory extended the Bears’ winning streak to six games before the Next Level 18 loss.
Big Bend had a 9-5 record entering double-header action with Leesburg Tuesday.
The Bears played at Wiregrass Wednesday and will host Next Level 18 in a 1 PM double-header at Chipola Saturday.
Next Tuesday Big Bend will host the Tallahassee Gnats in a double-header in Chattahoochee and Wednesday TBC will travel to Chipola to meet the Bears in a twin bill. Starting time for Tuesday and Wednesday is 6 PM.