Lucas Crawford and John Millett both homered and drove in four runs apiece while Brian Hale was nearly perfect on the mound as the Middlesboro Yellow Jackets opened the 13th Region All ‘A’ tournament with a 13-0 win over Barbourville on Tuesday.
“We were a little ticked off after Saturday (a 10-8 loss to North Laurel). We felt like we gave that one away,” said Jacket coach John Smith. “We had a chip on our shoulder today to take care of business and that’s pretty much what we did.
Crawford, a junior third baseman, put the Jackets on top with a bases-loaded single in the third inning and Millett, sophomore outfielder, followed with a high-arching grand slam to right center to make it 5-0. Crawford added a three-run shot to left in the fourth and Middlesboro went on to score five more runs in the inning to put the game away.
“Crawford has been hot, he’s had at least two hits in every game for us I think. He’s staying back and driving the ball the other way real well. He hit the home run and went 3-for-3 with four RBIs,” Smith said. “Millett goes 2-for-3 with the grand slam, that’s four RBIs for him also.”
Hale struck out nine over five no-hit innings to get the win. He didn’t allow a baserunner until he hit Joey Bargo with a pitch with two out in the fifth. He came back with a strike out to end the game.
“He had the perfect game going and hit that guy in the back, those things happen. He probably wasn’t even thinking about it, which is the way it should be,” Smith added. “But that was a senior stepping up there and giving us another strong game on the mound.”
Crawford also doubled in the second inning to pace the Jacket offense with three hits. Millett added a single in the fourth and they both scored two runs. Middlesboro also got RBI singles from Jake Brock and Jacob Schneider in the fourth while Tyler Yoakum reached on an error to bring in a run and Ryan Pittman drew a bases-loaded walk.
Brandon and Brian Hale also had singles in the game for MHS.
Tanner Moore took the loss for the Tigers after pitching the first 3-1/3 innings.
Barbourville (1-2) returns to action Saturday at Jellico, Tenn.
Middlesboro (3-1) will host Pineville Thursday as the tournament continues. The Mountain Lions advanced with a forfeit victory over Red Bird in their first round game.
The Jackets have won the last four 13th Region All “A” titles and look like a strong favorite to make it five straight.
“We’re back here Thursday against Pineville and we’re just going to come out focused, hopefully, with the same attitude and same chip on our shoulder and try to do it again,” Smith said.
— — —
Barbourville…000 00 — 0 0 3
Middlesboro…005 8x — 13 8 0
Tanner Moore, Jaxon McWilliams (4) and Collin Grubb; Brian Hale and Tyler Prater. W — Hale (2-0). L — Moore. HR — M: Millett, Crawford.