Behind a brilliant pitching performance by left-hander Wyatt Skaggs in the opener of the 12th District Tournament, the Cougar baseball team assured itself a spot in next week’s 3rd Region Tournament with a 9-0 shutout of the Edmonson County Wildcats Monday afternoon at Don Lee Field.
Skaggs rolled through the Wildcat lineup with little difficulty, allowing just two hits while striking out 11. Both hits, one of which was of the infield variety, came in the third inning. Skaggs retired 11 straight batters between the third and seventh innings before Chase Turley reached base on an error with one out in the seventh inning. He then struck out Brendon Sorgmann and got Dylan Waldrop to ground out to end the game.
The Cougars scored once in the second inning, the only run they would turn out to need. Alex Shellhart reached on an infield single and was sacrificed to second by Joseph Anthony. Logan Stevenson followed with a single into left field to plate Shellhart to make it 1-0.
Grayson County added three more runs in the third inning to make it 4-0. Dylan Yaden walked leading off and moved to second on a wild pitch. Logan Ramsey walked before Jameson Van Meter flew out to right field, allowing Yaden to move to third base.
Ramsey stole second, putting two runners in scoring position. Skaggs followed by striking out on a pitch in the dirt, but when the ball went to the backstop, Yaden scored and Skaggs was safe at first, putting runners at the corners. Corbin Harris then came in to run for Skaggs at first and stole second base.
After Shellhart lined to second for the second out of the inning, Anthony hit a little nubber that was fielded by the pitcher, Hunter Houchins, whose throw to first skipped by first-baseman Alex Basil and went into right field. Ramsey and Harris both scored on the play, and Anthony was able to go all the way to third. But Stevenson grounded out to end the inning.
Grayson County added four more runs in the fifth inning. Ramsey led off with a single to right, and when the ball got by Chase Blanton and rolled to the wall, Ramsey wound up at third. Van Meter followed with a single up the middle to plate Ramsey to make it 5-0.
Van Meter went to second on a wild pitch, then stole third base before Skaggs walked to put runners at the corners. The Wildcats made a pitching change at that point, bringing in right-hander Thomas Slaughter, who hit Shellhart to load the bases. Anthony followed with a single to right that plated two more runs.
Stevenson singled to load the bases once more before designated hitter Jordan Turner drove in the final run of the inning with a sacrifice fly to left.
The Cougars scored their final run in the sixth inning. Yaden doubled leading off, moved to third on a ground-out by Ramsey, then scored on a single by Van Meter.
The Cougars will face Whitesville Trinity, a 5-1 winner over Butler County in the other semi-final, in Wednesday’s 12th District Championship game. Game time is set for 6 p.m. at Don Lee Field.