By Kyle Lovern
BUCKLEY’S CREEK, Ky. – The Hawks of Pike County Central had the home field advantage in the 60th District baseball tournament. That seemed to make a difference as they upset arch rival Belfry 4-3 on Tuesday evening for the championship.
Belfry had defeated Pike Central 8-0 and 3-2 in their two regular season contests.
Both teams will advance to the regional tournament next week to be played in Inez, Ky. The runner-up advances to regional play in the Bluegrass State, giving the Pirates one more chance.
Pike Central, although playing on their home turf, was still the visiting team on the scoreboard. They scored four runs in the top of the third inning and held on to edge by Belfry.
The Pirates scored a run in the bottom of the 6th frame and two more in the bottom of the 7th, but could not get over the hump and the Hawks were able to hang on to win the district title.
Good fielding by Pike Central, along with some base running mistakes by Belfry, sealed the Pirates’ fate.
“We did not make routine plays early in the game, which put us in a hole,” Belfry coach Michael Hagy said. “Offensively we did not put enough pressure on their defense. We had too many strikeouts.”
Starter Zac Fields, a senior, took the loss for the Pirates. Fields gave up four runs in the third inning. He faced 16 batters and had a pair of strikeouts.
Junior Keaton Taylor came in to relieve Fields. Taylor was able to shut down the Hawks in 4 1/3 innings. Taylor had six strikeouts and only two walks. He gave up three hits to PCC batters.
Mac Justice, a southpaw, got the win on the hill for the Hawks. Justice struck out 10 Pirate batters and he walked four. Charlie Cokley came in to get the last two batters out for the Hawks.
Belfry only managed four hits in the game. Senior infielder Reed Williamson had a pair of singles, while Keaton Taylor, Joey Duty each had a base hit.
Andrew Fields and Justice both smacked two doubles for PCC, while Charlie Cokley lined out a triple.
Belfry has a record of 24-13 heading into the 15th Regional tournament which starts on Monday, while Pike Central will go in with a ledger of 17-15. The draw for the regional tournament will be held Saturday at 12 noon at Sheldon Clark High School. The regional will be hosted at Cardinal Park by SCHS in Inez, Ky.
Score by innings:
PCC - 004 000 0 - 4
Belfry - 000 001 2 - 3
WP: Mac Justice; LP: Keaton Taylor.
(Kyle Lovern is the Sports Editor for the Williamson Daily News. He can be contacted at email@example.com or at 304-235-4242, ext. 33 or on Twitter @KyleLovern.)