The Whitley County Colonels were able to manufacture a few runs as they came out top of the Bell County Bobcats, 4-0 in a pitchers’ duel on Tuesday.
Steve Watson and Alex Rose combined on a one-hitter for the Colonels. Watson had two RBI ground outs and Casey Crisologo and Cody Lewis also drove in runs to spoil a fine outing by Bell sophomore Austin North.
North allowed just one earned run on five hits over five-plus inning. He struck out five and walked four.
“Austin pitched a heck of a game, he probably couldn’t pitch much better. Our defense played stood up behind and turned two double-plays. I’d say that’s the first time we’ve turned two double-plays in a game in years,” Bobcat coach Scott Chaney said. “He threw strikes and I feel bad for him, he probably should have won this game.”
Whitley’s first three batters reached base in the top of the first inning, but North held them off the board. Rose singled but was picked off. Jordan Crusenberry walked and Tilmon Jackson singled but North coaxed Crisologo to hit a grounder to short where Caleb Smith turned into a 6-3 double-play to end the inning.
The second inning saw one Whitley base runner get thrown out stealing and another get picked off by North at first.
The Colonels finally broke through in the top of the fourth. Crusenberry walked and stole second and one out later Crisologo singled to put runners at the corners.
Crisologo was running as Watson hit a grounder to Jacob Rose at third. Rose threw to first for the out as Crusenberry headed home. Crisologo tried to make it to third on the play, but was thrown out by Bell first baseman Zach Turner. The umpires ruled that the run had scored before the third out was made and the Colonels took a 1-0 lead.
That was all Watson would need. He struck out eight and hit a batter while giving up just one hit over five innings. Hayden Gilbert singled with two out in the bottom of the third for Bell’s only hit.
It was still 1-0 going into the sixth when a tiring North issued a lead off walk to Crusenberry and Jackson reached on an error on what could have been another double-play grounder. With runners at second and third, Scotty Fields took over on the mound and gave up a hard grounder to Crislogo that went for an error as Crusenberry scored. Crisologo stole second and grounders by Watson and Cody Lewis drove in two more runs to make it 4-0.
Despite the loss, Chaney was encouraged by how his team played. They had lost 9-1 to the Colonels earlier this season.
“We played them the first week of the season and they beat us pretty good. Tonight, they had us 1-0 in the top of the sixth and we made two silly errors and they end up scoring three runs,” he said.
The Bobcats turned another double-play in the top of the seventh as Jackson Lefevers handled a grounder off the bat of Rose and flipped it to Smith for the turn.
But Bell just couldn’t get their bats going. Rose took over on the mound for Whitley to start the sixth and he struck out three over two perfect innings to close out the game.
The Bobcats played without sophomore Dylan Cox, who suffered a potentially serious elbow injury while pitching against Pineville on Friday.
“Dylan hurt his arm on Friday against Pineville and he’s probably done for the year. I’m not sure about that, he’s going to go get checked out in Lexington,” Chaney said. “Not having his presence on the field probably hurt us. He’s one of our leaders and this was the first game we’ve played without him. No doubt it’s going to hurt us, but hopefully somebody steps up and takes his spot.”
Both teams return to action today with Bell County (11-11) playing at Corbin while Whitley County (16-6) visits Barbourville.
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Whitley Co….000 103 0 — 4 6 0
Bell County…000 000 0 — 0 1 3
Steve Watson, Alex Rose (6) and Cody Lewis; Austin North, Scotty Fields (6) and Aaron Jenkins. W-Watson. L-North.