BELLWOOD - Everett baseball coach Mike Kline decided to take a chance on a base-running strategy in the top of the first inning of Tuesday's Inter-County Conference championship game against Bellwood-Antis.
The call paid off, as the ICC-South champion Warriors scored both of their runs in the inning, and captured the Inter-County Conference title by defeating ICC-North winner Bellwood-Antis, 2-0.
With two outs and runners on first and third base, Everett's Kyle Droz showed intent of stealing second and instead hovered in between the two bases, trying to steal the attention away from Zakk Jays, who was on third base.
Bellwood catcher Trenton Creppage threw down to second, and Jays stole home from third before the ball returned to Creppage to score Everett's first, and eventual game-winning run.
"We practice it and we practice the defense against it," Kline said of the play. "We had two outs and [Bellwood pitcher Chad Luensmann] is pretty good, so I thought we would try to make something happen. It ended up working in our favor."
"We kind of knew it was coming," Bellwood-Antis coach Steve Conlon said. "They ran it when we played them the other day, we just didn't execute the way we had to."
Droz would eventually move to third base on the same play, and scored just seconds later when a Luensmann pitch got away from Creppage.
The two runs in the inning would be all that Everett starting pitcher Dylan Foor would need, as the senior threw all seven innings, allowing just three hits while striking out eight Blue Devil batters.
"The key was Dylan on the mound," Kline said. "Defensively, we made the routine plays that we are supposed to make and that was the difference in the game."
Foor was worked to three-ball counts on just four occasions, and only two Blue Devils advanced past second base.
"He threw a lot of strikes," Conlon said. "Sometimes you have to tip your hat and say today they were a little better and [Foor] was a little better than out hitters today."
The ICC championship was one of the goals for Kline and the Warriors, who have set themselves up well to continue their season.
"Our goal is first winning the ICC-South, then the Sideling Hill and ICC championships and then onto districts," Kline said. "You just try to play the best that you can and get in position to have a shot at winning league titles."
Everett will travel to Bedford on Thursday as it has three regular season games remaining, while Bellwood will host rival Tyrone on Thursday at 4 in the first round of the District 6-AA playoffs.
"I told our kids the only positive is we have another game left," Conlon said. "If this happens on Thursday, our season will end. Hopefully we come out ready."
EVERETT (2): McInroy ss 301, Jays cf 210, Foor p 300, Droz 1b 311, Stover c 100, Greenwald lf 300, Potts 3b 200, Zinn rf 000, Mellott dh 300, Jay 2b 300, McGregor cr 000. Totals - 23-2-2.
BELLWOOD-ANTIS (0): DeGennaro cf 300, Luensmann p-3b 300, Gray ss-p 300, Creppage c 301, Lynn f 300, Snyder 2b-ss 301, Hunter 3b-2b 200, Wyland 1b 300, Stapleton lf 201, Campbell cr 000. Totals -25-0-3.
SCORE BY INNINGS
Everett200 000 0-2 2 1
Bellwood-Antis000 000 0-0 3 1
E-Creppage, Potts. 2B-Stapleton. WP-Foor. LP-Luensmann. SO-Foor 8, Gray 7, Luensmann 3. BB-Foor, Gray 2, Luensmann 2.
Records: Everett (14-1); Bellwood-Antis (16-5).