LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. —
LOG MOUNTAIN—North Laurel had two reasons to be ready for Thursday game at Bell County, one recent and one from the past.
The recent was Tuesday’s 8-1 loss to Madison Central that ended the Jaguars four-game winning streak.
“They got a wake-up call from Madison Central on Tuesday. That helped our cause a little bit. We came out, hit it and scored early,” North Laurel coach Darren McWhorter said as his team won 9-4.
The past was last year when the Jaguars made this same trip and made the long bus ride home with a loss.
“That’s the same kid that pitched against us last year and beat us 1-0 the last week of the season. It was nice to come out and get on the board early,” McWhorter said.
McWhorter reminded his team of the 2013 loss not as a matter of revenge, but to point out you must be ready for every opponent.
“I said it’s going to be the same team that played us last year and beat us 1-0. I said you better not come in here and take these guys lightly,” McWhorter said.
The Jaguars took the advice with a four-run first inning. The inning began with Ethan Maxey reaching on an error and Cole Lewis drawing a walk. Zach Hurley and Austin Thompson both singled home runs. Two more runs scored on a double by Logan Mallory for a quick 4-0 lead.
Byron Rice reached on an error and scored on an error in the second inning as North Laurel pulled ahead 5-0.
Bell County did scratch out a run against North Laurel starter Byron Rice in the third inning. Caleb Smith walked and scored on a double by Dylan Cox. Rice only walked two batters as he pitched seven full innings.
“Byron Rice came out and threw well enough to get the win. We made enough plays behind him,” McWhorter said.
North Laurel made it a 7-1 game in the fourth inning on a two-run single by Maxey. The Bobcats scored an unearned run in the fourth, but any chance of a rally was hampered by errors. Two errors led to two unearned runs in the fifth inning as North Laurel made it a 9-2 lead.
Bell County made eight errors on the night with many due to a hard, wavy infield.
North Laurel put in eight new players in the sixth inning, keeping only Rice on the mound.
“These games are good to have every now and then and get these other guys in there to get some swings in and make some plays,” McWhorter said.
Bell County did tack on two more runs in the bottom of the seventh, but not enough to get Rice pulled from the mound. Rice gave up five hits and just two earned runs.
“That’s always good when we have a guy that can come out and give you a complete game. That saves your pitching or later on,” McWhorter said.
The Jaguars were scheduled to play at Bryan Station Friday and Lincoln County Saturday.