By Don Brown
The Cougar baseball team split a pair of summer-league games Thursday evening as they played at Don Lee Field.
In the first game, the Cougars took a one-run lead in extra innings, but Breckinridge County scored twice in the bottom of the inning to steal a 6-5 win.
In the second game, the Cougars came back from an early 3-0 deficit to beat Hancock County 4-3.
The Cougars committed four errors and three of them played key roles in the Cougars’ loss to the Tigers.
Incoming sophomore Zach Roberson pitched all six innings in this one, and pitched well enough to get the win. He scattered eight hits, struck out three, and walked three. Three of the six Tiger runs were unearned.
Breckinridge County took an early lead with a run in the bottom of the first. Tiger pitcher Casey Dowell led off with a single, then moved to second on a ground out by first-baseman Trey Woosley. A wild pitch moved Dowell to third, from where he scored on a sacrifice fly by third-baseman Dalton Payne.
The Cougars grabbed the lead in the third inning, scoring twice after two were out. Dowell struck out both Chance Perkins and Jordan Turner to start the inning, but Dylan Woodcock rocketed a double to the fence in left-center.
Wyatt Skaggs followed by belting a sharp ground ball, which Woosley could not handle, and Woodcock scored on the error as Skaggs made his way to second. Logan Ramsey sent a ball through the hole at short and Skaggs came in to make it 2-1.
The Tigers worked some two-out magic themselves to tie it in the bottom of the third. Roberson retired the first two batters before Dowell was safe on an error by third-baseman Logan Stevenson. After Dowell stole second base, Woosley singled into left field. Skaggs’ throw to the plate was in plenty of time to cut down Dowell at home, but it sailed high over the head of the catcher, Ramsey, and Dowell was safe on the error.
The Cougars went back on top with a pair of runs in the fourth inning. Alex Shellhart walked leading off and Stevenson followed with a single to right to put runners at first and second. A Bret Crawford sacrifice moved the runners up a base and Shellhart scored on a wild pitch to make it 3-2.
Breckinridge County brought the infield in before Perkins sent a ground ball to second-baseman Justin Carman. When Carman bobbled the ball for just a second, Stevenson was able to score to make it 4-2 as Carman recorded the second out at first.
Grayson County should have been out of the fifth with no damage done and a win in Roberson’s pocket, but an error led to two runs which tied the score.
Right-fielder John Sweazy led off by hitting a high pop-up behind second base. Perkins drifted back on the ball, but saw it drop behind him for the error.
Roberson struck out Skyler Wethington and got Carman on a ground-out as Sweazy moved to second. Dowell followed with a single to center, putting runners at the corners. Dowell took off on a steal attempt, and when the ball went into center-field, Sweazy scored to make it 4-3.
Dowell stole third base and later scored on a wild pitch to tie it at 4-4 and send the game into extra innings.
The Cougars scored a run in the top of the sixth after Bret Crawford walked, stole second and came home on a two-out single by Perkins.
But the Tigers took the game with a pair of runs in the bottom of the sixth. Isaiah Sosh was on board with an infield single and went to second on a sacrifice by catcher Ben Allen. Shortstop Cody Pile singled to bring in Sosh with the tying run, and he moved into scoring position when Sweazy walked.
That brought up Wethington, who had struck out twice earlier in the game. This time, though, Wethington drove a ball into the left-field corner to bring in Pile with the winning run.
Incoming freshman left-hander, Gage Akridge started this one and was roughed up for thee first-inning runs by the Hornets. After that first inning, Akridge settled in, showing promise for the future with a lively arm.
Grayson County got one of those runs back in the bottom of the first. Dylan Woodcock doubled leading off, moved to third on a wild pitch, then scored on another wild pitch. Grayson County later put runners at second and third with two outs, but Logan Stevenson struck out to end the threat.
Akridge ran into trouble in the third inning, putting runners at the corners with two outs. Head coach Danny Clark brought in Wyatt Skaggs in relief and Skaggs was able to record the final out without more Hornet runs crossing the plate.
The Cougars then tied things with a pair of runs in the bottom of the third. Skaggs reached on an error, then went to second on a wild pitch. With one out, Kevin Pierce singled down the line in right to bring in Skaggs to make it 3-2. Pierce went to second on another wild pitch, then scored on another single to right by Alex Shellhart.
After Skaggs worked a 1-2-3 fourth inning, the Hornets put a runner at second in the fifth with just one out. Skaggs got the second out on an infield pop-up, then struck out the next batter to end that threat. The Cougars then made Skaggs the winning pitcher by scoring in their final at-bat.
Pierce walked leading off the fifth and was replaced on the bases by Chance Perkins. Shellhart laid down a sacrifice but and the runners wound up at second and third when the Hornet pitcher threw low and down the line at first. Hancock County then intentionally walked Stevenson to load the bases and set up the force at home.
Perkins then tried to score on a short passed ball, but was thrown out on a close play at home. The Hornets then walked Crawford to reload the bases for Jordan Turner. With a 1-2 count, Turner topped a ball up the third-base line. Shellhart broke for home on the play and was safe with the winning run when the throw home was in the dirt and skipped away from the catcher.