FULTON | The gaudy record and strikeout totals were the first things Ron King noticed about Tri-County pitcher Riley Benner.
The next thing the South Central baseball coach noticed about the hard-throwing sophomore was his penchant for bases on balls.
"We knew he was a good pitcher. We also knew he walked a lot of guys," King said. "We knew if we were patient, good things would happen. We also knew we had to put it in play."
S.C.'s patience proved virtuous as Benner issued nine free passes and threw over 100 pitches in four-plus innings. The Satellites (14-11) said thank you very much, outlasting the Cavaliers 10-7 in the first game of Saturday's Class A Caston Regional.
Fort Wayne Blackhawk feasted on Kouts' shaky defense to win the second game, 13-3, in six innings.
"He got wild and we fed off that," S.C.'s Dan Snyder said of Benner. "When you've got a guy who's wild, you're just looking for him to throw one down the pipe."
Snyder had one of the two hits off Benner, a two-run single in the fourth. The other was a two-run homer by Myles Sims in the second, the first long ball of his high school career.
"I'm glad I did at this time," said Sims, who added an RBI single. "I've been struggling, but I was seeing the ball real well and I was able to make good contact with it."
South Central scored five runs in the fifth, when it registered five of its seven hits, capped by Snyder's two-run triple, to go up 10-3.
Snyder (6-3) exited after allowing two hits to start the sixth and Tri-County (21-9) made good on three S.C. errors while Ben Rosebaum was pitching to quickly get within 10-7. Garrett Walter came on to halt the comeback, aided by a sliding catch in center from Austin Hanna, and the scheduled championship starter finished up for the save.
"I can't say enough about Danny's heart," King said. "He wanted that last inning, but we knew he was getting gassed. Unfortunately, we got lazy. At every level you progress, you can't give away runs. But I made them keep their heads up."
Kouts (15-11) made seven errors and plunked six batters in the second game. Freshman Max Everaert (6-3) lasted three innings, done in by the shoddy fielding behind him.
"Tough one," Mustangs coach Matt Weston said. "Defense was a struggle, obviously. There's no way to sugar coat that. They hit the ball and put the pressure on us. We didn't get the strikeouts we usually get."
The Mustangs scored all of their runs on play in the third, when Evan Blonn's bases-loaded infield single was thrown away, clearing the bases. Kouts managed just five hits, two by Dan Cullison.
"We put our first two guys on, I'm thinking we're going to score and get off to a good start here and they strike out our 3-4-5 hitters," Weston said. "Then we go error, error, hit by pitch, bloop and we're behind the 8 ball early."
Storms forced the postponement of the championship. Officials waited until around 8 p.m. because of the travel distance involved for both South Central and Blackhawk, but eventually called it a day due to repeated lightning in the area. The teams are scheduled to meet at 6:30 p.m. Monday.