Burch draws bases-loaded walk to send 9-10 All-Stars to state tournament

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 9, 2002

Over the past week, the Bennetts Creek National (BCN) 9-10 All-Star team was on a roll. After losing its first game of the double-elimination tournament to Churchland, the players charged past Charles Peete, Wilson, Olive Branch, and even the Bennetts Creek American team. On Saturday afternoon, BCN handed Churchland an 8-1 defeat, seemingly giving them all the momentum they would need to win the title from Churchland on Monday evening.

But Isiah John and the rest of the Portsmouth team didn’t think so. From the mound, John struck out 10 batters in the team’s rematch at Driver Elementary.

Fortunately for BCN, hurler Ben Joslin was having the best game of his 9-10 league career. He pitched a no-hitter for the Suffolk All-Stars, striking out four.


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The teams raced through the first five innings, which were played in just over an hour. In the bottom of the sixth, Chase Butler and Zach Vann made outs for BCN, leaving things up to Joslin.

He managed to break through John’s wall of strikes, banging a single to center field. Jay Riddick hit a high chopper to shortstop, and Churchland was unable to make a play. But when Tyler Horton managed a slow grounder toward third base, it appeared that the game would head into extra innings.

&uot;When I hit it, I was like, ‘Oh man, Ben’s out,’&uot; said Horton. &uot;None of us wanted this game to go into extra innings.&uot;

Joslin proved that statement true by hurtling past the Churchland shortstop and sliding into third to load the bases. Traquel Burch came to the plate.

John’s first two pitches were close, but balls. He fired a strike past Burch, but his fourth pitch was well high. The next pitch blew by the batter, leaving Burch with a full count, two outs, bases loaded.

He needn’t have worried. John’s last pitch was well low and outside, and Burch had achieved the tournament-winning walk.

&uot;I knew that a walk was as good as a hit,&uot; he said. &uot;But I couldn’t have hit that pitch if I’d have wanted to.&uot;

BCN will head to Pound (near Bristol) on July 19 to take part in state competition against 15 other district teams.&uot;

&uot;When we get to Pound,&uot; said Horton, &uot;we’re going to ‘pound’ everyone there!&uot;