Jacob Rose had three hits, including a home run, and Aaron Jenkins drove in four runs to lead a 15-hit attack for the Bell County Bobcats in Tuesday’s 12-3 win over Harlan.
Austin North and Zach Turner combined to allow zero earned runs as the Bobcats surpassed last season’s win total and improved their record to 9-8 on the year.
“It don’t matter about the district, a win’s a win for this bunch. They only had eight wins last year and we’ve still got about 17 games or so left,” said Bell coach Scott Chaney. “We’re just taking it day by day and when the district tournament comes we’ll worry about the district then.”
Harlan’s Caleb Hogue took the loss, though he wasn’t helped by seven Green Dragon errors. Bell led it just 4-2 until putting up eight runs in the fifth and sixth innings.
After North worked a 1-2-3 top of the first, the Bobcats scored three times in the bottom of the inning and never trailed. Jeremiah Partin singled leading off and went to second on Evan Brock’s ground out and to third on a wild pitch. With two down, Jenkins delivered an RBI single. Rose also singled and and an error in the outfield put runners at second and third. The second Bell run scored on a passed ball and Rose came in as Caleb Smith reached on an error.
The Dragons scored two unearned runs of their own in the second inning. Jordan Turbyfill reached on an error with one out and a Dylan McNeil walk put runners at the corners with two down. McNeil stole second and Marshall Ward singled to bring both runners home and cut the lead to 3-2.
Bell got one of those runs back in the third as Dylan Cox singled with one out, Jenkins reached on an error and Rose singled to load the bases. Smith followed with a fly ball to left that was deep enough to score Cox. Turbyfill was able to throw out courtesy runner Hayden Gilbert going for third to end the inning, but the run had already scored.
Harlan wasted a scoring chance in the fourth. With one out Corey Burns and McNeil both singled to put runners at the corners and Ward hit what appeared to be a sacrifice fly to left, but the umpires ruled that Burns had left third early and the Bobcats successfully appealed the play to end the inning.
It was still 4-2 going into the bottom of the fifth and the Bell bats came alive. Cox led off with a stand up triple deep into the right field corner and then scored as Jenkins reached on an error. Gilbert, again running for Jenkins, advanced to second on Rose’s ground out and then to third on an errant pick off throw. Smith followed with an RBI single and Turner doubled to deep left before Jared Slusher’s base hit pushed the lead to 7-2.
“I’m really proud of the guys. They’re coming and wanting to work, we had lost about five in a row and last night could have been a disaster for us,” Chaney added. “But I feel like they’re getting a little confidence right now and hopefully they can continue doing what they’re doing.”
Harlan was able to push across a run in the sixth as Tye Patrick singled leading off and Turbyfill was safe on an error. Burns moved the runners up with a ground out to first and McNeil brought Patrick home with a ground out to second.
Jenkins had a two-run single before Rose ripped his two-run homer to left in the sixth. The Bobcats scored again as Scotty Fields fly ball to center was deep enough to score Smith, who had doubled, from third.
“Jacob had been in a little bit of a slump but he hit a home run last night, too, that kind of sparked us a little bit. He hit another one, so maybe he’s getting out of his slump,” Chaney said. “He’s got to be a hitter for us. He’s coming through right now, so hopefully it continues.”
North pitched the first four innings to earn the win. He allowed two unearned runs on three hits while striking out two, walking one and hitting a batter. Turner worked the final three innings for a save. He gave up just an unearned run on two hits with one strikeout and no walks.
Bell County (9-8, 2-2 in district play) will host Pineville on Thursday while Harlan (11-7, 0-4) visits Jenkins on Friday.
— — —
Harlan…020 001 0 — 3 5 7
Bell Co…301 035 x — 12 15 2
Hogue, Patrick (6) and Miller; North, Turner (5) and Jenkins. W-North. L-Hogue. Sv.-Turner. HR-B:Rose (2).