The Cougar baseball team split its final two games of the summer schedule on Tuesday, then won a tournament game on Thursday to reach the conference semi-finals.
With a great number of players absent during the summer break, the Cougars had to play with a collection of middle-schoolers and incoming freshman on Tuesday against Hancock County. The result was a 2-0 loss to the Hornets.
The Cougars had a couple of starters back in the nightcap and they took advantage to score an 8-1 win over Hopkins County Central.
On Thursday, the Cougars traveled to Butler County for a play-in game to the conference finals and they blasted the Bears 12-2 in three innings to secure themselves a place in the playoffs on Friday.
Hancock County’s Tristan Bozarth retired the first nine Cougar hitters he faced before giving up a fourth-inning, leadoff walk to Parker Cain. Bozarth then walked Logan Ramsey to put runners at first and second.
Bozarth retired the next two Cougar batters, then picked off Cain at second to end the Grayson County threat.
The Hornets had taken the lead in the bottom half of the first with a pair of runs. Cougar starter Wyatt Skaggs allowed just one hit in the inning, but was undone by three Cougar errors.
The Cougars broke up Bozarth’s no-hit attempt in the fifth inning. Chance Perkins led off with a single to left, but was erased trying to steal second.
With two outs, Jacob Vincent walked, then eighth-grader Hunter Young singled. A wild pitch moved the runners to second and third, but Bozarth retired Chandler England to end the threat and the game.
Skaggs allowed just two hits in his four innings of work, walked two and struck out four. Both Hancock runs were unearned.
HOPKINS COUNTY CENTRAL
Joseph Anthony reported to the Cougar lineup following a very busy day. Anthony had been selected to attend the Sophomore Showcase at Louisville’s Pleasure Ridge Park. Top sophomores from around the state were invited to showcase their talents for college scouts.
Anthony spent 12 hours there, then went to a cheerleading workout with the Cougar cheerleaders before coming to Don Lee Field to pitch against Hopkins.
Despite all the work he had done during his day, Anthony was nearly unhittable against the Storm. He retired the first 10 batters he faced before giving up a one-out walk in the fourth inning. He then struck out the next two batters to end the inning.
Anthony retired the first two batters he faced in the final inning, but lost his concentration. He walked Jordan Wells, then gave up a single to Chris Herman to put runners at the corners. A wild pitch then plated Wells with the Storm’s only run before he ended things by striking out Keenan Camplin. Anthony struck out 11 batters while walking two.
Grayson County sent 11 batters to the plate in the second inning and scored six times. Zach Roberson drove in one run with a ground out. Ramsey drove in another run with a single and Skaggs had two RBIs with a double to the wall in left. The other two runs scored on errors.
Chandler England drove in a run with a third-inning single, while Perkins drove in the final run with a ground out in the fourth.
The Cougars had to win this game to extend their summer schedule and a 10-run third inning saw to it that they did.
The Bears scored twice in the first inning off starter Kevin Pierce. A one-out single by Tyler Johnson, and back-to-back, two-out doubles by Blake Graham and Trevor Parker plated both runs. Parker was thrown out at third for the final out of the inning as he tried to stretch his double into a triple .
Grayson County tied the game with two unearned runs in the bottom of the second. Two errors put runners at the corners with one out. Perkins grounded a ball back to the pitcher and Dylan Woodcock was safe as Bear catcher Clark Parker dropped the ball.
Bret Crawford moved to third on the play, and he scored the second run on a ground out by Jordan Turner.
The Cougars then ended the game by sending 13 batters to the plate in a 10-run, third-inning outburst to give them a run-rule win. Pierce, Perkins and Turner all had RBI singles, and Anthony drove in a run with a sacrifice fly.
Leading 9-3 and with the bases loaded, Woodcock lined a ball into the gap in right-center that turned out to be a bases-clearing triple that gave the Cougars the runs they needed for the decision.