Brian Hale broke a 2-2 tie with a grand slam off Micah Purdie in the bottom of the fifth inning and the Middlesboro Yellow Jackets went on to a 10-2 win on Thursday and gained a little revenge from losing at Williamsburg earlier this year in the All “A” championship game.
“We came out focused and ready to play today, had a different attitude than we had (Wednesday),” said Jacket coach John Smith. “I challenged the guys after that Clay County loss to show up with the intensity and fire in their eyes they had in that first Harlan County game for the remainder of the season. When they bring that, we’re capable of beating anybody in the region.”
Hale also singled and scored Middlesboro’s first run in the fourth inning and added an RBI sacrifice fly in the sixth.
Tyler Yoakum went all seven innings to pick up the victory. The sophomore allowed just one earned run on four hits while striking out five and walking one.
“He’s been pretty solid for us in a couple of starts and a lot of relief innings,” Smith said. “He threw a heck of a game tonight. Got ahead of the hitters and threw strikes, that’s all we ask of our pitchers. Let them hit it and we’ll make plays behind you.”
Williamsburg’s Ryan Bowlin held the Jackets to just two hits — singles by Brandon Hale and Lucas Crawford — through three innings. Meanwhile Yoakum was perfect his first time through the Williamsburg order.
Purdie drew a walk leading off the top of the fourth and stole second. Ryan Creekmore followed with an RBI double that just got past a diving Jake Brock in center.
The Jackets ansered with two runs in the bottom of the inning. Brian Hale singled up the middle leading off, John Millett reached on a bunt single and Tyler Prater reached on an error to load the bases. Brandon Hale singled to left to bring in Brian Hale, but Millett was ruled out on a close play at the plate. Yoakum followed with a squeeze bunt to plate courtesy runner Van Ball for a 2-1 MHS lead.
Williamsburg tied the game in the fifth as Bowlin singled and advanced to second on a ground out. He scored as Noah Purdie reached on a throwing error.
Brandyn Ball led off the Jacket fifth with a base hit, Brock reached on an error and Jacob Schneider walked to load the bases and chase Bowlin. Micah Purdie took over on the mound and Hale launched his second pitch high and deep to straight away left field. The towering fly ball just kept carrying and cleared the fence for a grand slam.
“We worked the bases loaded and Brian hits a grand slam that sort of took the wind out of their sails and we just rode it out from there,” Smith said.
Millett reached on an error and Prater walked. Justin Solis relieved Purdie and, after a passed ball moved the runners up, Millet scored on a straight steal of home to make it 7-2.
Walks to Brock and Schneider to start the sixth finished Solis’ night pitching. Jordan Osborne came on and, after a passed ball, gave up drive to center off the bat of Brian Hale that was deep enough to score Brock. Singles by Millett and Prater brought in another run and Brandon Hale brought in Millett with a grounder to set the final at 10-2.
“There was a little bit of bench jockeying going on. They had beat us in the All ‘A’ and we didn’t play very well in that one. I told them after that one that we’ve got (Williamsburg) two more times and go home and circle those dates,” Smith added. “Show them what we’re made of when we go play them again.”
Williamsburg (10-10) hosts Clay County today while Middlesboro (14-8) plays two games at Rockcastle County on Saturday.
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Williamsburg…000 110 0 — 2 4 4
Middlesboro…..000 253 x — 10 9 2
Bowlin, MPurdie (5), Solis (5), Osborne (6), Hamblin (6) and Creekmore; Yoakum and Prater. W- Yoakum. L-Bowlin. HR-M:Brian Hale.