Have Mercy: Rutherford explodes for 12 run sixth in Texas-sized rout

Aug. 15, 2014 @ 10:01 AM

Corpus Christi, Texas entered Thursday’s game with a perfect 3-0 record and the number one seed for the upcoming U.S. championship game, but none of that phased Rutherford County.

Rutherford County used a 12-run sixth inning to rout the Southwest champions, 17-3 in six innings during the final day of pool play at the Junior League World Series in Taylor, Michigan.

“We played well,” Rutherford County manager Curtis Snethen said. “Everyone contributed today. We bounced back after not playing very well the other night and got the win. We have been a good, aggressive offensive team all year and we were today. I think our offense has been good all tournament.”

Keaton Snethen keyed that offense, going 4-5 from the leadoff spot with an RBI.

“I was just looking to get on base and set the table for everybody else,” he said.

Cameron Snethen was equally impressive on the mound, coming on in relief of Josh Searcy in the third inning. He threw 3 inningd of shutout baseball, striking out four.

“I was able to locate my off-speed pitches today,” he said. “I was able to work my fastball in there, too.”  

Rutherford County (2-2) mounted a threat in the top of the first. Cameron Snethen doubled down the right field line and Adam McDowell walked. After a double steal, Cameron Snethen was picked off third base, ending the inning.

Searcy worked a scoreless bottom half from the mound and turned in a defensive gem in the second. With a runner on first and no outs, he pounced on a bunt and started a 1-3-5 double play.

That play seemed to spark the offense, which exploded for five runs on just two hits in the third. Wesley Smith led off the frame with an infield hit. Keaton Snethen did the same one out later, while Cameron Snethen walked. On the walk, Smith scored on a wild pitch and Searcy recorded a RBI. Adam McDowell reached on an error and Keaton Snethen was ruled safe at the plate on an obstruction call. Joe Conner garnered a RBI on a deep sacrifice fly. McDowell capped the scoring, crossing the plate on a wild pitch to make the tally 5-0.

A Rutherford error and a RBI single by Mathew Castro cut the lead to 5-3 the bottom of the inning.

Rutherford County made a bid to add to their lead in the fifth, loading the bases with one out. Wesley Smith flew into a double play, however, as the lead remained at two runs.  The defense picked up their teammates in the bottom half behind reliever Cameron Snethen. A 5-4-3 double play ended the inning with Rutherford County still holding a 5-3 lead.

Then the floodgates opened. Rutherford County sent 16 batters to the plate in a 12 run barrage that provided the final score. After Keaton Snethen opened the scoring in the inning, Conner’s two run single put runners on the corners with no outs.  With Levi Parks at bat, Conner took off for second. Catcher Dakota Roe’s throw went into centerfield, allowing McDowell to score. The hits then just kept coming as the next six Rutherford County batters reached, highlighted by Jace Crowe’s RBI double. By the time McDowell’s two-run triple rattled around the leftfield corner, the lead had ballooned to 17-3.

“I was just trying to get a hit and get some runs in,” said Conner. “I knew it was a big spot. It felt good.”

Not to be outdone, the defense turned in one final sparkling play to end the game. McDowell caught a fly ball in right field and threw to first for the 9-3 double play for the final out.

Rutherford County’s fate now rests in the hands of Newark, Delaware. If they beat California and surrender eight or more runs in the process, Rutherford County would advance to the semi-finals, based on a tie breaker.

“We are hoping for a real high scoring game and a Delaware win,” Curtis Snethen said.

If Rutherford County does not reach the semi-finals, they are guaranteed a consolation game today against an international team.

“What a great experience. This whole tournament has been great. What a way to spend a couple of weeks during the summer,” Curtis Snethen said.