LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. —
The 49th District Tournament begins next week, so this week is about preparation. North Laurel got what it needed Monday with a 15-1 win over Harlan.
“All arms on board this week because it’s going to take all of them to get through this week,” North Laurel coach Darren McWhorter said.
Cole Lewis threw four innings for the win against the Green Dragons. It was just the third appearance on the mound this season for the North Laurel senior.
“He throws strikes. You’re going to be able to compete and get people out if you throw strikes,” McWhorter said.
Lewis is normally in the North Laurel infield. He was called on to pitch so that the aces in the rotation could rest. Lewis allowed one run on four hits with one walk. The only run was unearned. Austin Thompson pitched a scoreless fifth inning.
“The guys we’re going to throw in the district tournament we will throw Tuesday and Thursday to get them ready,” McWhorter said.
There are still a lot of games between now and next week. The Jaguars have three games with Corbin this week and a doubleheader at Southwestern Saturday.
“(Lewis) didn’t throw a whole lot of pitches, so he might have to come back and throw more later in the week.”
Harlan’s only run and half of its hits came in the first inning. Their highlights would end there.
North Laurel sent 11 batters to the plate in the bottom of the first inning and scored six runs. Ethan Maxey reached base twice in the inning with a single and hit by pitch. Thompson and Austin Rudder each had two run singles in the inning as the Jaguars led 6-1. It wouldn’t be their biggest inning.
North Laurel would send 15 batters to the plate in the third inning and scored nine more runs. Again Maxey reached base twice with a pair of singles. Lewis and Jack Capobianco each stroked two-run singles in the third.
North Laurel also showed patience at the plate despite the lopsided score. The Jaguars drew six walks in the inning and eight in the game.
“They battle on the good pitches and that’s what it takes to win games. If you’re up there thinking you have to get a hit every time and just swinging, there are going to be times when you make an out when you could have gotten on base,” McWhorter said.