The Cougar baseball team got a taste of what it is like to play the game with wood bats this past weekend as they won a pair of games at the Graves County Dinger Bat Tournament, held in Mayfield.
The Cougars were scheduled to play three games over the weekend, but Friday night’s game at Marshall County was cancelled after Mother Nature dropped an inch of rain in about an hour on the Marshall’s field. Head coach Danny Clark had tried to pick up another game, either later that night or Saturday morning, but was unable to come up with one.
A few years back , the Cougars were in a wood-bat tournament in Elizabethtown and struggled to make contact throughout. With the changes the past two years in bats, the current crop of aluminum bats act much more like wood bats, so the Cougars were able to get their swings in in Mayfield. Grayson County pounded out 17 hits in the two games, including eight doubles and scored 17 runs.
In the first game, senior Joseph Anthony pitched four innings and allowed just one unearned run on four hits while striking out seven as the Cougars dispatched Winfield, Missouri 11-1 in five innings. Gage Akridge pitched the last inning and struck out all three batters he faced.
In the second game, against Calloway County, Wyatt Skaggs went five innings to pick up the 6-2 win. Skaggs allowed two runs on three hits and struck out 10 Laker batters. Akridge pitched the last two innings, allowing no runs and no hits while striking out three.
The Cougars got on the board first with a single run in top of the second inning. First-baseman Alex Shellhart doubled leading off, moved to third on a wild pitch, then scored on a ground out by Logan Stevenson.
Grayson County sent eight batters to the plate in the third and scored five times to take a 6-0 lead. Logan Ramsey led off with a double to left-center and moved to third on an infield hit by Jameson Van Meter. Skaggs drove in both runners with a double to the fence in right-center to make it 3-0.
Anthony helped himself with a double to plate Skaggs, then moved to third on a wild pitch. Shellhart followed with his second double of the game to drive in Anthony. Shellhart moved to third on a groundout by Stevenson, then scored on a sacrifice fly by Turner to make it 6-0.
The Warriors scored their only run in the bottom of the third inning. With two outs, DH Brad Jordan reached on an error by Shellhart at first. Center-fielder Dale Diedrich then drove a ball to the fence in center and Jordan scored all the way from first base to make it 6-1.
The Cougars sent eight more men to the plate in the fourth inning and scored four more runs. Dylan Yaden singled leading off before Ramsey walked. Van Meter sacrificed both runners to second and third. Skaggs walked to load the bases and an Anthony single plated two more runs.
Shellhart walked to load the bases for Stevenson, who picked up an RBI when he also drew a walk. The final run of the inning scored on a sacrifice fly off the bat of Turner and the Cougars held a 10-1 lead.
Grayson County scored its final run after two were out in the fifth inning to make it a 10-run lead. Ramsey walked with two outs and stole second base. He then came home on a Van Meter single.
When Akridge struck out the side in the bottom of the fifth, the game was halted by the mercy rule.
This game started out as a pitcher’s duel between Skaggs and the Lakers’ Wade Carter, who retired the first six Cougars in a row before running into trouble in the third.
Turner reached first on an infield topper which he beat out for a hit. Dylan Woodcock’s attempted sacrifice bunt was popped up out in front of the plate. Carter was able to get to the ball for an out, but collided with his catcher, Caleb Brandon, on the play.
Carter was down and dazed for several minutes, but was eventually able to return to the mound. However, he wasn’t nearly as effective afterward.
On a hit-and-run play, Yaden singled through the vacant hole at second base to put runners at the corners. A wild pitch scored Turner and moved Yaden to second. Ramsey doubled, driving in Yaden to make it 2-0, then Ramsey moved to third on another Carter wild pitch. Van Meter drove in Ramsey with a sacrifice fly and the Cougars led 3-0.
The Lakers answered back with two runs in the top of the third after two were out. Skaggs walked both Connor Wagner and Bryce Orr, then gave up a two-run double to Lofton Pigg to make it 3-2. Skaggs struck out Bayle Underhill to end the inning.
Grayson County made it 4-2 with a run in the fifth inning off Laker reliever Will Civils. With two outs, Ramsey singled, then stole second base. Van Meter followed with a single to right to plate Ramsey before Skaggs grounded into a force play to end the inning.
The Cougars added a pair of insurance runs in the bottom of the sixth inning. Anthony reached on an error and moved to second on a wild pitch. A Shellhart single plated Anthony to make it 5-2.
Turner followed with a chopper to third and was safe when the throw pulled the first-baseman, Pigg, off the bag. But Shellhart was caught in a rundown on the play and was tagged out for the second out of the inning. Turner alertly moved into second on the play, then scored when Akridge singled to left, making it 6-2.
The Lakers had threatened in the sixth when they put runners at second and third with two outs, but Akridge got Pigg to ground out to end the threat.
In the seventh, Akridge walked the first batter, but got Aaron Dawson to hit into a 6-4-3 double play. Akridge then ended the game by striking out Civils looking.
Grayson County’s record improved to 9-3 on the season with the two wins.