The 11-year-old Little League All-stars gained a little revenge with a 8-5 over Hazard/Perry County, the team which defeated Middlesboro in its tournament opener and forced Middlesboro to begin the long road out of the losers' bracket.
The team responded and Middlesboro is now just one win away from a berth in the state tournament. North London punched its ticket earlier Friday with a 12-0 win over Harlan to cap an undefeated run through the tourney. Middlesboro and Harlan will square off today at 2 p.m. for the other spot in the state tourney.
Middlesboro made use of an opportunistic offense and a strong pitching performance by Thomas Epperson to avenge a July 4th 8-5 loss to Hazard/Perry Co.
Middlesboro scored eight runs on just five hits, only one of which went for extra bases, making full use of nine walks.
Epperson, meanwhile, didn't give up a hit until the fourth inning and struck out 14 in the complete-game win. He walked only one.
Middlesboro took the lead in the fourth after Zach Riddle drew a leadoff walk and Chris Short, D.J. Daniels, Jarrod Lasley and Epperson followed with consecutive singles. Anthony Thacker drove in a run with a fielder's choice to cap the inning and give Middlesboro a 4-0 lead.
Hazard/Perry broke up Epperson's no-hitter in style in the fourth with a home run by Josh Blinger.
Middlesboro responded with a four-run effort in the bottom of the fourth aided by four walks. Epperson's bases-loaded triple was Middlesboro's only hit.
Hazard/Perry whittled into the lead in the fifth inning with a pair of runs and picked up two more in the sixth as Middlesboro committed one of its two errors in each frame.
But Epperson notched his 14th strikeout to cap the game and move Middlesboro into the losers' bracket final against Harlan.
Hazard/Perry 000 122 - 5 7 1
Middlesboro 004 40x - 8 5 2
Elgin and Sebastian; Epperson and Riddle. W-Epperson. L-Elgin. HRs-Hazard/Perry, Blinger.