The Bell County Bobcats came away with a pair of five-inning wins over Pineville on Monday, sweeping the double-header 9-2 and 11-2.
It was a big night for Bell junior Dylan Cox. Cox went 5-for-6 over the two games with three doubles and five runs batted in. He also made his first appearance on the mound this season in the final inning of the nightcap. Cox hasn’t pitched this season after undergoing Tommy John surgery over the summer. He injured his elbow in a game against the Mountain Lions last season.
Cox was rusty and gave up a pair of unearned runs while walking two and hitting a batter in his lone inning of work, but it was a big first step for the Bobcats’ former ace.
“Dylan had been begging me to pitch for a while. He’s good to go but we’ve been taking it easy with him,” Bobcat coach Scott Chaney said. “It seemed like a good opportunity to get him in there with a 10-0 lead. He was hot with the bat and drove in five or six runs. We’re just easing him back in as a pitcher and we’ll be glad to have back there next year.”
Pineville got off to a fast start in the opener as Will Adams singled and Tucker Woolum reached on an error in the top of the first inning. They both came around to score on RBI ground outs by Jordan Slusher and Conner Ford to put the Lions up 2-0.
Bell got one back in the bottom of the inning when Evan Brock led off with singled and advanced to thrid on an error in the outfield. Caleb Smith followed with fly ball to center that was deep enough to get Brock home.
Slusher held the Bobcats to one run until they got to him in the bottom of the third inning. Smith walked and later scored on a base hit by Aaron Jenkins. Cox added an RBI single to bring Jenkins in with the go-ahead run and Bell led the rest of the way. Cox scored on an error following Jacob Rose single and Brock later drew a bases-loaded walk to make it 5-2.
“We hadn’t played in week and we came out a little bit sluggish. It took us three or four innings to get going but the bats finally got hot,” Chaney said. “Our pitchers threw strikes and we made plays.”
Hayden Gilbert was hit by a pitch with the bases full in the fourth. With two down, Jared Slusher added a two-run single off his brother, Jordan. Walks to Brock and Smith forced in another run to make it 9-2.
That would be the final in game one. Ethan Mason took over on the mound in the top of the third inning and held the Lions to no runs on three hits over the final three innings to get the win. Mason struck out two and walked three.
Cox had two singles and a double to lead the Bell offense while Brock, Jenkins, Rose, Gilbert and Slusher all added singles.
For Pineville Ford doubled while Adams, Slusher, Tyler Evans and Tyler Givens had singles.
The Bobcats picked up right where they left off in game two. Austin North was perfect over the first two innings and finished by giving up just four hits over four shut-out frames while striking out four.
Cox doubled home Brock and Smith and later scored on a two-out double by Chase Woolum as Bell went up 3-0 after one inning. In the second inning Jenkins singled in a run, Cox doubled home two more and Rose added an RBI single to extend the lead to 7-0.
Evans singled to start the Pineville third and Matt Hubbard also singled. But North came back to get a strikeout and then Rose fielded a grounder to second, tagged a runner and threw on the first for a double-play to end the inning.
Smith sliced a two-run double down the left field line in bottom of the third. In the fourth, Gilbert had an RBI ground out and another run scored as Slusher reached on an error to make it 11-0.
Slusher and Ford both singled for the Lions in their half of the fourth but North picked Slusher off at first and got out of the inning unscathed.
Claeb Dunn reached on an error to lead off the Pineville fifth and Evans was hit by a pitch. One out later Givens and Adams walked to force in run. Woolum followed with a grounder to short where Chase Woolum fielded the ball and flipped to Brock for one out, but Brock’s throw to first sailed wide. Evans scored on the play but Givens was thrown out at the plate to end the game.
Both teams return to action on Thursday with Bell County (12-10) at Clay Couty and Pineville (10-8) at Barbourville.
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|Jordan Slusher and Jalen Byrd; Zach Turner, Ethan Mason (3) and Aaron Jenkins. W — Mason. L — Slusher.|
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|Will Adams and Jordan Slusher; Austin North, Dylan Cox (5) and Caleb Smith. W — North. L — Adams.|