LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. —
CORBIN—North Laurel used its trademark big inning to roll past South London 13-2 in the Area 2 Tournament Monday.
“In travel ball we’re always that way” North Laurel coach David Bowling said. “Seven or eight runs. When we played Clay we didn’t put that together. “
An 11-10 loss to Clay County Sunday put North Laurel in the loser’s bracket. Now they need a win Tuesday over Corbin to advance to the district tournament.
“We should have beat Clay. We dug ourselves a hole and now we’ve got our backs against the wall,” Bowling said.
It’s not an unfamiliar position for a North Laurel team that lost in the first round of the state tournament last season. They would recover to advance to the state championship game before losing a heartbreaker.
Although South London played North Laurel to a 2-2 tie in the first two innings, Bowling said he was happy with how his team started. Noah Rogers sent the game’s first pitch over the left field fence for a 1-0 lead.
“That was his first. He’s been flirting with it. We have two more that have been flirting with it that haven’t gotten it over yet,” Bowling said.
Tanner Bowling and Bryson Brock are the only players looking for their first home run now on a roster loaded with power.
“If they give us something to hit we are driving it over the fence,” Bowling said.
After giving up the home run to Rogers, South London starter Eli Sizemore kept the North Laurel batters off balance. South London would tie the score in the bottom of the first when Hunter Johnson reached on an error and scored on a wild pitch.
James Shoptaw led off the second inning with a double for North Laurel. He would score on an infield single by Rogers.
Again South London had the answer. Chance Wyatt led off with a double and scored on a grounder by Jared Woolum. South London would load the bases before Shoptaw fanned the last two batters to end the inning. It was all North Laurel from there.
“I think this is going to wake the kids up. We were a little lazy, a little lackadaisical,” Bowling said.
North Laurel sent 15 batters to the plate in the 11-run third inning against three different South London pitchers. The seven hits in the inning included two each by Blake Vanhook and Tanner Bowling. Cole Kelley ripped a two-run home run.
It was just what North London needed to wash away a tough loss to Clay County 24 hours earlier. A walk-off home run gave Clay County an 11-10 win over North London team that had rallied out of an eight-run hole. Clay County’s eight-run first inning included six runs before the first out.
North Laurel rallied to tie the score 10-10 going into the sixth inning. Clay County’s Raven Abner was able to keep North Laurel in check in the top of the sixth inning to set up the game-winning home run by Mills.
North Laurel blasted four home runs in the game. Blaine Miller and Cole Kelley both went deep, while Blake Vanhook came through with two home runs, and a double off the top of the fence.
South London dropped to the loser’s bracket with a 10-0 loss to Corbin on Sunday. The teams waited on a four-hour rain delay before a pair of Corbin pitchers held South London to two hits.