TUNKHANNOCK — Homestanding Tunkhanock had things going its way until Athens erupted for five sixth-inning runs to post a 9-7 win over the host squad in a District 15 9-11 Little League pool play contest.
Athens’ win in the battle of unbeaten teams clinches the pool play title for Athens, which went 4-0 in the tourney.
Tunkhannock plated all seven of its runs in the first two innings and led 7-0.
Athens began mounting a comeback with two runs in the third inning. Jacob Shores walked to start the inning, and James Friend clubbed a double to center field. After an out, Karson Sipley walked to load the bases. Matthias Welles walked to send one runner home, and two batters later Friend stole home.
Athens closed its gap even more in the fourth inning. Nick Robbins reached on a dropped third strike, but it looked like Tunkhannock might not pay for that after a couple of quick outs. Then Cooper Robinson slammed an RBI double to center and subsequently stole home.
Still down 7-4 after a scoreless fifth inning, Athens had one more chance to come to the plate.
Shores and Friend walked to open the inning. Robinson hit into a fielder’s choice the erased Shores from the bases. With one out, Sipley sent an RBI single to center. Welles walked to load the sacks, and Charan Venkataswamy ripped a two-run single up the middle to tie the game. After Welles and Venkataswamy advanced a base each on a wild pitch, the pair executed a double steal to send Welles home. Venkataswamy also scored on a steal of home for Athens.
Welles issued three of his 10 strikeouts to set Tunkhannock down in order in the bottom of the sixth.
Athens only had six hits but made the most of them. Welles led the way with a single, a double, one run and one RBI. Venkataswamy added a single, a run and two RBIs; and Robinson had a double, one RBI and two runs. Friend added a double and two runs scored; Sipley had a single a run and one RBI; and Shores scored a run.
Welles allowed one hit, one walk and two runs of which one was earned in five innings. Robinson started the game on the hill for Athens but struggled. He allowed four hits and a walk for five runs with four earned. He struck out three in an inning of work.