Furnas County Juniors headed to state
upsets top seed
at Class C
Area 7 Tournament
RAVENNA -- The Furnas County Juniors American Legion baseball team advanced to the Class C state tournament at Gordon on the strength of two upset wins over Shelton-Gibbon in the Area 7 district tournament.
The area tournament was played at Ravenna.
FC defeated Sehlton-Gibbon 2-0 and 7-6.
Behind the two-hit shutout performance by pitcher Waid Vontz, the Juniors upset Shelton-Gibbon in the first game of the three-game championship series.
FC scratched out two unearned runs in the second inning when Brett Cribelli and Jackson Johnson reached base on errors.
They scored on consecutive singles by Josh Keener and Tony Braithwait and a bases-loaded walk to Anthony Lytle.
Vontz held the opposition in check over the seven innings. In the sixth, a walk, an error and an intentional pass loaded the bases.
Vontz struck out the fifth-place hitter and preserved the shut out.
Vontz faced 27 batters, allowed two Texas League singles, walked three (one intentional), and struck out 10.
The Shelton-Gibbon pitchers were solid and held the local nine to only four hits.
Shortstop Tony Braithwait went 2-for-3 while Keener was 1-for-4 with a RBI and Lytle was 1-for-1 with one RBI and two walks.
The Furnas County Juniors traveled to Ravenna on Sunday, less than 24 hours after winning game one of the best of three series, and came away victorious in heart-stopping fashion.
FC jumped out to a quick two-run lead on singles by Josh Keener, Waid Vontz, an RBI single by Anthony Lytle and a run-producing ground out by Mike Powell.
Pitcher Tony Braithwait shut down Shelton-Gibbon in the first, but ran into trouble in the second.
Shelton-Gibbon singled, walked, reached on an error, another single and added a sacrifice fly and scored five runs.
Furnas County scored four runs to regain the lead and erase a three-run deficit -- a lead they would not relinquish.
Three consecutive singles by Gaven Fults, Brett Cribelli and Jackson Johnson pushed one run across and left runners at first and third with one out.
Braithwait then executed the squeeze bunt to perfection, which scored Cribelli.
Johnson was thrown out trying to go first to third and Braithwait alertly took second on the play.
Waid Vontz then drove in Braithwait on a shot to left and then scores on a double by Anthony Lytle, which made the score 6-5 in favor of Furnas County.
Vontz relieved Braithwait in the bottom of the fourth and sails through the next three innings with nary a threat from Shelton-Gibbon.
The top of the seventh was key to this victory as the Beaver City duo of Powell and Fults produced an insurance run for Vontz that was needed.
Powell stole second and Fults came through with an RBI double over the right fielder's head.
Cambridge led by two runs going into the bottom of the seventh inning and Vontz fanned the first two hitters he faced.
But Shelton-Gibbon scored a run on back-to-back doubles.
Maaske, Cribelli and Powell preserved the 7-6 win and a berth in the Class C State Tournament with a double play.
Furnas County will open state play at 2:30 p.m. CT against Dwight.