Opening their season at chilly Don Lee Field last Tuesday evening, the Cougar baseball team used some sterling pitching and took advantage of some Barren County miscues to win by a 5-1 score.
Grayson County managed only two hits on the night, but two errors by the Trojans in the second inning led to three unearned runs, and the Cougars scored twice more in the fifth on a pair of groundouts.
But it was the pitching of the Cougars that made the win special as three pitchers combined for 12 strikeouts and allowed just a single run.
After struggling with his control in the Cougars’ scrimmage loss to Christian Academy of Louisville last Saturday, senior right-hander Kevin Pierce was outstanding against the Trojans. He allowed just three hits in five innings, one of them of the infield variety, walked no one and struck out seven to earn the win. Pierce retired the last 10 batters he faced.
Sophomore Zach Roberson, the unlucky loser of that scrimmage game, pitched the sixth inning, allowing just an infield single and striking out two of the four batters he faced.
Senior Dalton Logsdon picked up a save by pitching the seventh. He struck out the first two batters he faced before allowing a two-out walk. Logsdon then closed out the Trojans with his third strikeout of the inning to end things.
The Trojans got on the board first in the second inning. Back-to-back singles off Pierce by Nick Jackson and Cole Scott put runners at first and second. Andy Morrison followed with a dribbler back to Pierce, who forced Jackson at third for the first out.
Left-fielder Cole Payne then hit a little topper back toward the mound. Logan Ramsey came out to field the ball, but Payne beat out the throw for an infield hit to load the bases.
Barrett Billingsley followed by hitting a high pop-up behind first base which Justin Calvert was able to glove for the apparent second out of the inning. But after a discussion, the umpires ruled Ramsey had interfered with Billingsley’s swing, awarding him first base and bringing in Scott with the run.
Pierce then struck out Derek Gossett and got Alex Puleo on a pop-out to end the inning.
The Cougars scored three times in the bottom of the second without the benefit of a hit. Ramsey reached on an error leading off the inning and was replaced on the bases by Dylan Woodcock. Walks to Logan Nichols and Jameson Van Meter loaded the bases with no outs.
Pierce followed by lofting a high fly to right-center which was dropped by the center-fielder, Gossett, allowing one run to cross the plate and leaving the bases loaded as Dustin Crain came in to run for Pierce at first.
Wyatt Skaggs then ripped a ball which bounded off the pitcher’s foot to Billingsley at short who threw Skaggs out as the second run scored. On the play, Crain baited the first-baseman into making a play on him at second, allowing the third run to cross the plate.
The Cougars added two insurance runs in the fifth. Joseph Anthony walked leading off and went to third on a double to the wall in center by Ty Davis. Logsdon was then hit by a pitch to load the bases for Calvert, who forced Logsdon at second with a ground ball as the Cougars’ fourth run came home.
Ramsey was walked intentionally to re-load the bases. After Nichols struck out for the second out of the inning, Van Meter brought Davis home with a groundout to make it 5-1.
When Logsdon struck out the side in the seventh, the Cougars celebrated their opening-day win.