By Mitch Howard
LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. —
If you’re looking to gain momentum for the second half of the season, there is nothing like a 9-0 win over No. 15 ranked team.
“You go beat the 15th ranked team in the state it should be a confidence boost. It should be confidence for the rest of the week with Corbin, Harlan County, and Williamsburg coming in,” North Laurel coach Darren McWhorter said. “Those are good teams you are going to have to come out and play against. You can’t say we just beat Hazard and expect them to lie down.”
Hazard won 11 of 12 coming into Tuesday’s game and at 18-5 had the best record in the 14th Region. The Bulldogs already have a win over defending state champion Woodford County.
“It was pitching, defense and timely hitting. We put it all together for the most part,” McWhorter said.
Zach Hurley and Marcus Carson combined to no-hit the Bulldogs. Hurley threw four innings with four strikeouts. Carson struck out five in three innings.
“They were locating and throwing with a lot of velocity too,” McWhorter said. “I knew with Zach and Marcus coming out and throwing well we were going to be in the game. They aren’t going to hit those guys around.”
Hurley knew coming into the game that he would be pulled early to save his arm for later in the week. Carson knew he would work a short relief role.
“Zach probably would have thrown a complete game shutout if we had left him in, but he knew that going in,” McWhorter said.
The scoring started in the fourth inning on a two-run gapper by Cole Lewis. Lewis, who finished the night 2-for-3, stroked the hit after a long at bat fouling off pitch after pitch. The Jaguars added a run in the fifth inning and then blew the game open with a six-run sixth inning. The key hit in the sixth was a three-run double by Weston Griebel.
Griebel had a 2-for-4 night at the plate. Carson was 2-for-3 with a walk and also reached on an error. Ethan Maxey also had a big night with two hits, including a double.
“It was a complete and total team effort. Everybody in the lineup hit and did something to contribute. We had a couple of big bunts, Cole bunted for a base hit. Austin Thompson had a key bunt that led to a couple of runs,” McWhorter said.