POTOSI — The Leadwood Pirates secured a stronger hold on first place in the MABA Senior Babe Ruth standings after watching the opposing Potosi Elks suffer a defensive implosion on Tuesday night.
Five errors equaled five unearned runs over the final two innings, and the Pirates received a clutch two-run single from Brandon Turner that arguably could have been caught while notching a 6-3 road victory.
Jake Gidden finished 2-for-3 and Kyle Nettles added two more singles for the Pirates (8-2), who can clinch the league championship by defeating the Bismarck Cardinals in two future rescheduled contests.
The game was tied at 1-1 with the Elks threatening in the home half of the fifth, and would ultimately be decided when similar line drives from each team yielded contrasting results.
Patrick Reeves stood at third base after hammering a long two-out triple off Pirates starter Trevor Kean, but was stranded when a smash by Colin Juliette was handled by Travis Brotherton.
A pivotal walk to Brotherton helped the Pirates load the bases moments later in the sixth, and Turner pulled a curving drive past the second baseman in a delayed reaction, allowing the two leading runners to score.
Turner then created a rundown after intentionally stopping midway between first and second, and remained in the chase long enough for Brotherton to cross an abandoned home plate for a 4-1 advantage.
Daniel Holloway reached on an error to begin the Pirates’ seventh, and scored when two consecutive wild throws allowed Nettles to circle the bases on a shallow single to left field.
Kean struck out five and walked five while earning the complete-game win. He repeatedly averted danger as the Elks netted at least one hit in every inning, and made his most important escape to obtain the final out.
Brad Eaton and Patrick Reeves each went 2-for-4, and their seventh-inning singles ignited a final comeback attempt by the Elks. A sacrifice fly from Eli Boyer made it 6-2 before Reeves scored on a wild pitch.
Kean walked Matt Pierce and Dylan Wyrick to extend the action with the potential winning run stepping to the plate, but induced a game-ending popout from lead-off batter Andy Reed.
Hampton recorded eight strikeouts and allowed eight hits over his seven innings in the loss. An early sacrifice fly from Josh Akers began a string of 10 straight batters retired by Hampton.
Eaton evened the game with a RBI single that scored Reed in the third. Boyer finished 2-for-3 with a double and Wyrick singled for the Elks (6-3).
The Pirates collected additional hits from Mike Harp and Brotherton.