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Local Sports

March 24, 2014

Cards take down Warriors in extra innings, 6-4

LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. — South Laurel and Southwestern came into Thursday evening’s match-up at Warrior Stadium with perfect 3-0 records.

At the end of the night, only one team would remain perfect, while the other would suffer their inaugural loss of the 2014 high school baseball season.

The visiting South Laurel Cardinals would remain the perfect team, as they came away with an eight-inning, 6-4 victory over the home standing Warriors.

It was a tough loss to swallow for Southwestern, who overcame an early three-run deficit to send the game into the extra innings. Unfortunately for Alex Eaton and company, it would be their first setback of the young season.

“It hurts to come out on the losing end, but hats off to South Laurel – they’re one of the better teams in this part of the state,” began Eaton. “I also feel like we are one of the better teams in this part of the state. It was two good teams going at it. Someone had to lose tonight, and unfortunately it was us.”

“It was a good win for us,” South Laurel coach Wynn Harris said.  “We really battled back from some adversity.  We gave up the lead with two outs in the seventh and still able to regroup.”

South Laurel jumped out to an early 3-0 lead after taking advantage of three Warrior errors in the opening frame. Trey Martin, who reached on an error to begin the game, scored on the following at-bat on a double from Daniel Neal. Neal and Zach Allen would both score in the frame to give the Cardinals a three-run lead over Southwestern.

“We came out and were able to take the lead early and that helped us,” Harris said. “Forced them to battle back all game.”

The Warriors tallied their first run of the night in the fourth inning, when Trevor Howard scored on a Lucas Turpin groundout. Howard’s run lessened the South Laurel lead to a pair of runs at 3-1.

“Daniel Neal threw very good for the first five innings,” Harris said.

In the bottom of the seventh inning, with two outs and Brandon Pruitt on the base paths, Warrior sophomore Jacob Burchett came up clutch, sending a ball over the left field fence for a two-run home run. Burchett’s blast would tie the ballgame up at 3-3.

Southwestern would not put any more runs across the plate in the frame, meaning extra innings would be needed to settle a winner of these two stellar baseball programs.

In the top half of the eighth inning, the Cardinals punched in three runs to grab a 6-3 advantage over the Warriors. Tucker Martin and Trey Martin, who both reached on walks, would score on a two-run single from Allen. Neal would tally the Cardinals’ sixth run of the night on a single from Taylor Morris.

Southwestern managed to score only one run in the bottom of the frame, allowing South Laurel to escape with a 6-4 victory. The Warriors’ fourth run was scored by Howard, who was able to make it around the base paths on a single from Brandon Pruitt.

Eaton was upset with the early mistakes of his team, but he was really proud of the way his team fought back after falling behind 3-0 in the first inning. The Warriors finished with five errors on the night, while South Laurel committed one miscue.

Brennan Miller, who pitched the final three innings for South Laurel, earned the victory. Miller had two strikeouts in the winning outing.

At the dish, South Laurel was led by Neal and Allen, who both had two hits apiece. Allen finished with two RBI’s on the night, while Neal had an RBI and a double.

Southwestern’s Chris Lynch was saddled with the loss. Lynch had a pair of strikeouts in as many innings of work for the Warriors.

“I was a little disappointed in our offensive production from the second through the seventh though,” Harris said.  “We have some things going and just couldn’t get that one hit or at bat to takes over the top.  Part of that was my fault.  I probably tried to get them to run a little bit too much. It’s early and we are trying to get better as a team.  And that includes me learning what we can and cannot do.  I was really happy with the win.  It was good to be in a really tight game late and win.”

The Cardinals (4-0) traveled to Harlan County Friday night to take on the Black Bears. South Laurel’s next contest will be on Monday evening, when they will be on the road at Hazard.

Sports Editor Denis House contributed to this story.

 

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