Dizzy Dean Baseball

Down 6-0 after one half-inning, the 11-year-old Rock Spring Young Guns could have panicked.

They didn't.

Instead, they simply chipped away and continued to stay the course before going on to a 13-12, come-from-behind victory over the Dade County 11's in the championship game of the 11 and 12-year-old Dizzy Dean District 1 tournament in Chickamauga on Monday night.

After falling behind early, Rock Spring begin its comeback. A big two-run single by Isaiah Henderson-Goss highlighted a five-run bottom of the first as the Young Guns also scored on a wild pitch, a balk and a double steal.

Dade picked up two runs in the top of the second, only to see Rock Spring tie it up in the bottom half of the frame. The Young Guns loaded the bases with no outs before Colt Howard and Jordan Gaffin drew bases-loaded walks. Henderson-Goss came through with an RBI on a sacrifice fly later in the inning, but a rundown between third base and home would result in the third out of the inning, leaving the score tied at 8-8.

In the top of the third, Dade scratched home another pair of runs to regain the lead, but Colby Burgess would single for the Young Guns to lead off the bottom half of the inning. A balk and a wild pitch would move Burgess to third before a sacrifice fly off the bat of Jake Ledbetter brought him home.

Rock Spring would get a much-needed 1-2-3 inning in the top of the fourth. However, Dade County answered by retiring the side in order in the bottom of the fourth and the game went into the fifth with time limit starting become a factor.

Dade put runners on the corners after seeing the first two batters set down in order. Gaffin came into replace Howard on the mound after the starter had reached his mandated pitch limit. A walk would load the bases and Dade came through with a two-run single to increase its lead back to three runs before Howard, who stayed in the game to play first base, was able to field a grounder and step on the bag to end the inning without any more damage.

With the time continuing to tick away on the scoreboard clock, the bottom of the fifth would turn out to be the last stand for the Young Guns and they made it count.

Trevor Wilson led off the inning by reaching first on a hard-hit ball to center before stealing second and third base on consecutive pitches. Gaffin drew a walk and swiped second and Henderson-Goss also drew a walk before Dade made a change on the mound with the bases loaded and nobody out .

Moments later, Burgess ripped a hot shot right back up the middle to bring in both Wilson and Gaffin, cutting Dade's lead down to 12-11. Henderson-Goss moved to third on the play and Burgess would take second to put the tying and go-ahead runs in scoring position.

Ledbetter drew a walk to reload the bases and Westin Clarke showed good patience at the plate to work his way for free pass that brought in the tying run. That brought up Hayden Prince, who worked the count full before taking a final low, outside pitch for ball four to bring in the championship-clinching run.

Gaffin would earn the win on the hill as the Young Guns completed a 5-0 run in the tournament. They defeated Dade, 18-15, and scored a forfeit victory over the Trion 11's in their other pool game. Bracket play on Sunday saw them rally in the final inning for another 13-12 victory, this one over the Summerville 12's.

Other victorious Young Guns team members include Ty Deberry and James Skelton, while the team is coached by Shane Howard, Kent Wilson, Charlie Gaffin and Scott Snow.

Scott Herpst is sports editor for the Walker County Messenger in LaFayette, Ga., and Catoosa County News in Ringgold, Ga.

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