Eight errors were too much for the Middlesboro Yellow Jackets to overcome on Friday as they dropped a 10-9 decision to Whitley County.
Jackson Tillman scored the go-ahead run in the top of the sixth inning on a throwing error and Jordan Crusenberry held the Jackets scoreless over the final two innings as the Colonels held on.
Early on the Middlesboro defense played well as starter Jake Brock pitched a 1-2-3 first inning and right fielder Brandyn Ball made a running catch of a shallow fly ball in the second. He threw out a runner trying to score from third on the play to keep the game scoreless.
John Millett homered leading off the bottom of the second to put Middlesboro up 1-0, but things unravelled in the top of the third.
Whitley’s Cody Lewis led off with a double and Corey Crisologo reached on a bunt single and took second on a throwing error as Lewis scored as part of a double-steal. Crisologo went to third on a passed ball and then scored on Alex Rose’s fly out to center to give the Colonels a 2-1 lead. Casey Crisologo then reached on an error, stole second and went to third on a passed ball. Tillman walked and Crisologo scored on another Jaket throwing error. Michael Harris followed with an RBI double to make it 4-1.
A walk to Steven Watson ended Brock’s outing on the mound and Tyler Yoakum got the second out of the inning before Crusenberry reached on a two-base error in the outfield as two more runs came in.
Down 6-1, the Jackets rallied for eight runs in the bottom of the fourth. Brian Hale led off with a double to the gap in right-center and Millett reached on an error to put runners at the corners. Yoakum followed with a sac fly to center that brought Hale home. Lucas Crawford singled, Tyler Prater was hit by a pitch to load the bases and Jacob Schneider delivered a two-run single to bring MHS within 6-4.
Jesse Hoskins kept the inning going with a bunt single and Brock walked to force in another run. Brandon Hale’s sac fly to right brought in Schneider to tie the game at 6. Brian Hale reached on an error as another run scored and after Millett reached on an error Yoakum delivered a two-run base hit through the left side for a 9-6 Jacket lead.
The lead was short-lived as Lukas Woods walked with one out in the top of the fifth and Crusenberry was hit by a pitch before Lewis connected on a two-run double to left. Crusenberry attempted to steal third and Prater’s throw got past Crawford and went down the left-field line to let in the tying run.
Crawford took over on the mound for Middlesboro to start the sixth inning and walked Tillman. Tillman stole second and was safe at third on a close play as Harris reached on a fielder’s choice bunt. With one out, Harris broke for second to draw Crawford’s attention as Tillman headed for home on a delayed steal. Crawford’s throw sailed high as Tillman scored what proved to be the winning run.
Watson hit Brock with a pitch leading off the Jacket sixth and Crusenberry took over on the mound. Brandon Hale reached on an error and Brian Hale flew out to center on an attempted slug-bunt. Millett reached on a fielder’s choice grounder as Hale was forced out at second and Whitley shortstop Alex Rose was able to handle Yoakum’s grounder and throw him out to end the inning.
Crusenberry struck out two in the seventh as he worked around Prater reaching on an error.
Watson picked up the win in relief after allowing five runs, two earned, on three hits over 1-2/3 innings. He struck out two, walked one and hit a batter. Crusenberry didn’t allow a hit or a walk while striking out two over his two scoreless innings to earn a save. Crawford was tagged with the loss despite allowing just an unearned run on one hit while striking out three and walking one.
Both teams return to action on Monday with district games as Whitley County (10-4) hosts South Laurel and Middlesboro (8-6) hosts Harlan County.
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Whitley Co…..006 031 0 — 10 8 5
Middlesboro…010 800 0 — 9 7 8
Corey Crisologo, Steven Watson (4), Jordan Crusenberry and Michael Harris; Jake Brock, Tyler Prater (3), Lucas Crawford (6) and Tyler Prater. W- Watson. L-Crawford. Sv.-Crusenberry. HR-M: John Millett.