The Cougar baseball team got off to a great start in 3rd Region play Monday afternoon as they pounded out 11 hits to defeat the Hancock County Hornets 7-1 in the opening round of the 3rd Region Tournament, being held at Meade County High.
The offensive outburst made a winner of Cougar starter Wyatt Skaggs, who allowed just two hits and one run in his five innings of work. Skaggs walked one and struck out four before being relieved in the sixth inning by junior right-hander, Zach Roberson, who worked two perfect innings to keep the Hornets from scoring any more.
It was the Hornets who got on the board first, scoring a run in the top of the first inning after two were out. With one out, Skaggs hit shortstop Colton White. After getting first-baseman Kolten Keown to line out to Jordan Turner in right for the second out, Skaggs went to a 3-2 count on designated-hitter, Tristan Bozarth. The burly DH hit the next pitch on a line into the right-center gap for a double that plated White all the way from first to put the Hornets on top 1-0.
The Cougars then tied things with a run after two were out in the bottom of the inning. Skaggs ripped a double over the head of right-fielder Logan Boling, and was replaced on the bases by junior Corbin Harris.
Harris appeared to have scored when Alex Shellhart lashed a ball into the left-field corner, but the umpires ruled the ball went foul, much to the displeasure of the Cougar coaching staff. But Shellhart made things right by poking a ball into right field to plate Harris with the run that tied things 1-1.
Grayson County took the lead for good with a run in the second inning. With one out, Dylan Woodcock singled to left, and when left-fielder Garrett Pate allowed the ball to get past him, Woodcock went to second on the error. Woodcock then stole third base and scored on a bunt from Dylan Yaden.
The Cougars scored two more runs in the third inning. A one out walk to Shellhart and a single by Anthony put runners at first and second. Third-baseman Logan Stevenson followed with a single up the middle to plate Shellhart and send Anthony to third. Jordan Turner brought Anthony home with a sacrifice fly to right and the Cougars led 4-1.
The Cougars then put the game out of reach with three insurance runs in the sixth inning. Skaggs led off with a single to right and was replaced on the bases once more by Harris, who then stole second.
With one out, Anthony was intentionally walked, putting runners at first and second and bringing up Stevenson, who singled to left to drive in Harris to make it 5-1. When the ball went through Pate in left, it rolled all the way to the fence, allowing Anthony to score and Stevenson to move all the way to third.
Turner followed by singling into the hole at short to drive in Stevenson with the final run of the game.
The Cougars improved to 24-10 with the win, while the Hornets ended their season at 19-17. Grayson County was scheduled to play the Ohio County Eagles (18-12) in the second round. The Eagles were 9-6, upset winners over Apollo (16-19) after scoring six times in their final at-bat. Be sure to read the next edition of the News-Gazette for the reults of that game.