Fulton baseball upsets second state champion in as many district games

Fulton's Jacob Lorentzen talks to his players during the Hornets' Class 4 District 8 semifinal game against Southern Boone Monday at Southern Boone High School in Ashland. (Courtesy/Shawley Photography)

ASHLAND -- Taking on the reigning Class 4 state champion at its field, the Fulton Hornets took down a second state champion in as many district tournament games.

Gaining the lead in the sixth, No. 5 seed Fulton won 3-2 against top-seeded host, Class 4 No. 4 Southern Boone -- led by Missouri Sports Hall of Fame coach Brian Ash, who earned his 100th win in four years with the Eagles Tuesday -- Monday at Southern Boone High School.

Fulton took the lead first, when Ethan Burt sent Miles Bethell home on his groundout to second in the top of the third.

Southern Boone answered in the bottom half of the third as Austin Evans scored on a wild pitch during Ryker Zimmerman's at-bat.

An inning later, Jace Wren made it 2-1 Eagles, lining an RBI single to center.

The Hornets had done it before this season and did it again Monday, coming back in the sixth by plating two runs on three hits and a walk. And it came from who else but Walker Gohring, the three-sport Fulton standout drilled a two-out two-RBI single to left -- Southern Boone made an out in the next at-bat to get out of the inning.

That was enough for Fulton to earn the victory, however. Ethan Burt picked up where he left off for the Hornets Saturday, sending the Eagles down 1-2-3 in the sixth and seventh to seal another historic district victory.

Burt earned the win for the Hornets, allowing no runs on a hit and no walks while striking out three.

Carter Salter took the complete-game loss for Southern Boone (25-10), allowing three runs on eight hits and a walk while striking out three in seven innings.

After beating the Eagles, Fulton (16-8) will play in its first district championship in six seasons (seven years). That season the Hornets beat Moberly 5-0 to win the Class 4 District 8 title -- Fulton went on to finish fourth at state.

"We grinded all game pitched out of some tough situations with runners in scoring positions," Fulton coach Jacob Lorentzen said. "Ethan Burt again closes out and looks perfect again, allowing just one hit in three innings. We had eight hits ourselves, just kinda spread out. Gohring gets bases loaded in the sixth and comes in clutch with a line drive to left-center, scoring the tying and go-ahead run. Third time this year, kid is 'Mr. Clutch.'"

Unlike the semifinals, it gets easier for No. 5 seed Fulton, as it faces No. 3 seed Fatima (15-15) at 6 p.m. today in Ashland; Comets all-state pitcher Max Buscher will be ineligible, as he threw over 30 pitches Monday. In their first meeting this season, Fatima beat Fulton 12-0 in Fulton on March 23; it was a two-run game through the first five innings when the Hornets had Ethan Milius on the mound.

photo Fulton's Walker Gohring gets ready to bat against Southern Boone in the Class 4 District 8 semifinals Monday at Southern Boone High School in Ashland. (Courtesy/Fulton Acitivites)