By PATRICK CASEY
The Paxton Bobcats exploded for eight runs in the bottom of the sixth inning as they broke open a close game to pick up an 11-1 District 1, Class A victory.
Paxton got on the scoreboard first with a run in the bottom of the third inning as Forrest Wibbing raced home on a double steal to break the scoreless tie.
Laurel Hill responded in the top of the fourth inning with a run of their own as a throwing error allowed the Hoboes to tie the game.
The Bobcats threatened to retake the lead in the top of the fourth inning but a failed squeeze play ended with Caleb Newborn tagged out to stymie the threat.
Grant Stewart put the home team on top for good in the bottom of the fifth inning as he drove in a run with an RBI single with Marcus Bradley sending in the third run of the night when he was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded.
Leading 3-1 in the top of the sixth inning, Paxton third baseman Dustin Geoghagan made a key defensive play with the bases loaded as he dove towards the line to snare a sharply hit ball, then raced to the bag to get the final out of the inning.
Stewart, who pitched six innings and earned the win while recording 10 strikeouts, helped his own cause in the bottom of the fifth inning with a bases loaded double to stretch the lead to 5-1. Laurel Hill’s pitching was unable to stop the bleeding as a bases loaded walk plated another run and an error allowed two more to score. The Bobcats were able to end the game by scoring eight runs in the frame to trigger the 10-run rule for the win.
Team Notes: Paxton has won seven district titles (2004, 2007-12) and finished as runner-up twice (2002,2006). The victory over Laurel Hill extends the win streak against the Hoboes to at least 26 games in the sport dating back to 2002. Stewart has earned wins on the mound in both of Paxton’s first two games.