For four innings in Tuesday night’s season opener against Somerset, the South Laurel Cardinals were looking pretty good leading the Briar Jumpers, 4-1.
Then the tide turned, as Somerset scored seven unanswered runs to take the 8-4 win.
“The wheels fell off in the fifth,” coach Wynn Harris said. “It wasn’t anything huge, but it gave them momentum to get back in the game. Somerset scored three runs in the fifth to tie the game at 4-4.
Another key moment was in the bottom of the first, when the Cardinals loaded the bases with no outs and the heart of their order coming up. But the next three South Laurel players all struck out.
“The first inning was a letdown,” Harris said. “To have three runners on, and not put the ball in play, and have nothing to show for it, that was a letdown.”
Still, the Cards came back, scoring two in the second, then adding two more in the fourth for the 4-1 lead.
“We did respond, and were able to come back and take the lead,” Harris said.
Ryan Reynolds drove in Caleb Blair, then a sacrifice by Tracie Burns scored Trent Abner for the 2-0 lead.
In the fourth, Andrew Irvin and Burns both scored on a double from Reynolds, and the Cards led, 4-1.
Somerset scored three in the fifth, highlighted by a homer from Prince, to tie the game at 4-4. The Briar Jumpers added two more in the sixth, then two more in the seventh when Purcell smacked a two-run homer, to give Somerset the 8-4 win.
“All of a sudden, they were more aggressive than we were at the plate, and took chances,” Harris said. “And Henderlight came in and shut the door on us.”
Harris noted that his pitchers, Kody Baker and Jessie Wilks, three pretty well, but they left a lot of ball up in the zone as the night went on.
“That’s to be expected for a first game,” Harris said.
While the defense didn’t play bad, Harris said the offense struggled. South was without the services of both Chris Adams and Matthew Gilbert, both nursing injuries.
“We took too many fastball strikes,” Harris said. “Which created a bad situation, leaving us behind in the count. We were not aggressive at the plate. The few times we hit the ball, we did hit it hard. We competed for three-fourths of the game, but didn’t out a whole game together”
South Laurel will travel to Campbellsville this weekend to play in a tournament. The Cards will face Cumberland County tonight, then Campbellsville and Montgomery County on Saturday.
Denis House can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.