By Kyle Lovern
INEZ, Ky. – The Belfry Pirates lost a heart-breaker in the semi-finals of the 15th Regional tourney played at Cardinal Field in Inez, Ky. on Saturday.
An old nemesis, Lawrence County, edged the Pirates 3-2.
“It was a tough one,” Belfry head coach Michael Hagy said of the loss. “That’s part of it; things don’t always go your way. Each year you hope for an opportunity to win in the post-season and for an opportunity to win a region.”
“We were given an opportunity and we did not take advantage of it. Our team worked extremely hard this season and stayed focused throughout. This year’s senior class will go down as one of the most successful classes in the history of Belfry baseball,” Hagy added. “We didn’t win a region and that’s tough, but we had opportunities and as coach or player that’s all you can ask for.”
“The balk call is not what beat us,” Hagy said of a call that helped Lawrence County get a couple of players in scoring position. Many Pirate fans were upset with the call.
“We had numerous opportunities to win the game after the balk call. We just didn’t get it done, plain and simple!”
“I have never seen a call made like that in a game of that magnitude before. It was the wrong call, but nothing can be done about it now,” Hagy added. “Breaks in post-season eventually even out and all you can do is keep working and learning from past failures.”
Joey Duty an RBI double for Belfry, while Zac Fields had a single and sac fly for an RBI. Aaron Taylor had a pair of singles, Jacob Francisco had a single, and Keaton Taylor had a single and stolen base.
Joe Wallen was the winning pitcher for the Bulldogs, while Keaton Taylor was the losing pitcher for the Pirates. All 3 runs were unearned.
“He pitched extremely well,” Hagy said of Taylor. “He deserved a much better fate.”
Despite losing several key seniors from this year’s squad including Joey Duty, Reed Williamson, Zac Fields, Trenity Carr and Caleb Stanley, the Pirates return several top players.
“We have Keaton Taylor returning, who won Player of the Year in the 15th Region this season,” Hagy said, talking about next season. “We also return our starting second basemen Garrett Fannin, third basemen Aaron Taylor, first baseman/pitcher Dustin Jewell and right fielder Jacob Francisco. With some work and development of our young players, we will have a shot again next year. That’s all you can ask for.”
Belfry finished the season with a record of 25 – 14.
In the championship game, Johnson Central nipped Lawrence County 2-1. JCHS had beaten East Ridge 10-5 in the semi-finals. The Eagles will advance to the state tournament this week in Lexington.
(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.)