CANTON — Cameron Tullar had been almost unhittable this season.
Going into the KLAA baseball championship game, Tullar had allowd 18 hits and four earned runs all season,.
On Wednesday, he allowed six runs in the second inning alone and was responsible for all seven runs and 11 hits as Canton beat Brighton 7-5 to win its third KLAA title.
“They put a lot of baseballs right through the middle and found some holes,” Brighton coach Charlie Christner said. “There were a couple of balls that had stopped rolling by the time we picked them up.”
All six runs in the second came after two out. A fielder’s choice was followed by seven consecutive hits, all but one of them singles, and it appeared that Canton had taken a commanding 7-1 lead.
Canton coach Mark Blomshield thought nothing of the sort.
“I told them after the second inning, if you think they’re going to roll over and let us add to the lead, you’ve got another thing coming,” he said. “I knew it wasn’t going to be over.”
The Bulldogs picked away at the lead, getting a run in the third and two in the fourth. They had a chance to pick up two more in the sixth when Trevor Hopman hit a fly ball with runners on second and third and two outs that Canton center Jake O’Donnell ran to, then reached up to snag at the last second to end the inning.
“If that ball gets through, it’s a different game,” Blomshield said.
In the seventh, Rudy Ramirez and Cameron Tullar led off with sharp singles to left. With one out, Chad Rensi drove in Ramirez with a single, but Canton pitcher Tyler Newsom, who came on in relief in the fourth, got the final two outs to clinch the title.
In an unusual circumstance, both teams came into the game on 16-game winning streaks. Canton improved to 20-2, while Brighton fell to 22-4.
“We felt if we had a chance to get into a position to score the winning run, we had a chance (to win),” Christner said. “If you’re going to be down 7-1, I guess, you do it in the second inning.
“I was really pleased with the way we didn’t give in,” he added. The dugout was in it the whole way.”
Tullar, who drove in two runs, pitched six innings for the Bulldogs and was philosophical about his struggles in the second.
“They just found gaps our guys weren’t playing,” he said. ‘They got those hits.”
Brighton is back in action with a doubleheader at Flushing today and home against Chelsea on Friday.
“We just have to move on to the next game,” Tullar said. “This is a big part, today, but there’s a lot of baseball left.”