By Denis House
LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. —
HAZARD—South Laurel used a five-run sixth inning to break open a close game and cruise to an 8-0 win over Hazard Monday night.
“It was a good win,” South Laurel coach Wynn Harris said. “We cut down on our errors and our pitching was decent. Pitching is what is going to carry us throughout the season.”
Zach Allen got the start, going 3 2/3 inning, allowing no runs on two hits. Braden Miller came in to relieve him with two outs in the fourth inning and pitched the remainder of the game, allowing two hits.
“Braden threw well,” Harris said.
The Cards (6-0) scored their first run in the top of the second on this chilly evening when Brennan Miller led off with a single to right, stole second and scored when Braden Miller’s fly ball to center was dropped to make it 1-0.
South looked to add to its lead in the top of the third when with one out, Daniel Neal singled but was thrown out trying to steal second. Allen followed with a single of his own but was left stranded.
Over the next three innings the Bulldogs (3-3) would get runners to third base but never found that hit to drive them in. In the fifth inning Hazard had runners on first and third with no outs when Miller, who had taken over on the mound, faked a throw to third then whirled and picked off the runner at first. He then struck out the next batter to get out of the inning.
“That was a heads-up play by Braden, one he did on his own,” Harris said. “We were able to bear down and keep them from scoring when they had runners on third.”
Then came the fifth inning, where the Cardinals scored five runs on five hits to take a 6-0 lead and put the game away.
Neal led off with a double to right-center, followed by Allen beating out an infield single to short. A single by Taylor Morris drove in Neal to make it 2-0.
Brennan Miller then laid down a sacrifice bunt to move the runners up a base, and Braden Miller was walked intentionally to load the bases.
After Austin Vigeant struck out, Derek Spurlock singled to center, driving in two runs to make it 4-0. Tucker Martin then walked to again load the bases, this time for Trey Martin, who singled to drive in two more runs and up the South advantage to 6-0.
The Cards added two more runs in the seventh when Allen doubled to lead things off, Morris was hit by a pitch, and Brennan Miller singled in Allen. After Braden Miller walked to load the bases, Vigeant hit into a 4-6-3 double player but a run scored to make it 8-0.
“It was really good to see us string hits together,” Harris said. “We did that in our first game against Clay, but really hadn’t done that too much before tonight. Tonight we finished the game.”
The Cards were scheduled to travel to Rockcastle County last night and host Clay County Thursday.