HARLAN—A 10-run fourth inning powered North Laurel to a 13-0, five-inning win at Harlan Thursday.
“The first three innings they threw a little guy out there that would throw in a knuckle ball and curveball. He kept us off balance,” North Laurel coach Darren McWhorter said.
North Laurel scored a pair of runs in the first inning. Marcus Carson walked and later stole home. Zach Storm was hit by a pitch and scored on a wild pitch. The Jaguars (10-4) were retired in order in the second and third innings. Despite the 2-0 lead, North Laurel was hitless the first three innings. McWhorter said his hitters were out in front of the off-speed pitches and popped everything up.
“Once we got him kind of timed up, Tanner Smith hit a home run,” McWhorter said.
Smith’s home run, his first of the year, was a no-doubter. Marcus Carson and Zach Bullard barely missed home runs off the top of the fence.
Smith started the fourth inning outburst quietly with a walk. Bobby Caldwell also walked. Bullard singled to drive Smith with the game’s first hit. Once the first hit came they didn’t stop.
Ryan Shears and Ethan Eversole followed with singles. A walk to Landon Jones forced home Bullard with the fifth run. Marc Kaminsky walked to force home Shears. Carson singled to drive in two more runs. After a single by Storm, Smith’s three-run homer cleared the bases.
Smith’s homer was the third of the year for North Laurel. Bobby Caldwell and John Allen have also homered the Jaguars.
Caldwell drew a walk and scored on a long double by Bullard, the seventh hit of the inning.
The Jaguars added a run in the top of the fifth to end the game early on the Mercy Rule. Marcus Carson doubled and moved to third on a wild pitch. Carson scored on a groundout by John Evans.
Overshadowed by all the offense was a strong performance on the mound from Ethan Harris.
“Ethan Harris threw a one-hitter. He threw real well and didn’t walk anybody,” McWhorter said.
Harris struck out seven in five innings. The only threat came in the fourth inning when Harlan (1-7) had runners on second and third. Harris, a senior lefthander, ended the inning with two strikeouts. The loss was the fifth straight for the Green Dragons.
The win was the seventh in a row for the Jaguars, who were scheduled to play at Madison Southern Friday night and at Hazard and Breathitt County over the weekend. Lexington Catholic will be at North Laurel on Monday.
“We’re playing well. Hopefully we can keep this thing going,” McWhorter said.
Mitch Howard can be reached at email@example.com.