The Cougar baseball team had a good day last Saturday at Don Lee Field, winning a pair of games in the Hart, Owensboro, Grayson (HOG) Tri-Tourney.
In the opener, the Cougars built a 4-0 lead over Hart County, then held on for a 4-2 win. In the third game, the Cougars trailed four different times against the Red Devils, but scored four times in the sixth inning, including a bases-clearing double by Hunter Shiarella to win 9-6. The Cougars improved to 6-11 on the season with the two wins.
Owensboro run-ruled the Raiders 17-0 in five innings in the second game.
Riley Mudd started for the Cougars and pitched five scoreless innings before running into difficulties in the sixth. Shiarella relieved Mudd and earned the save with two innings of scoreless ball. Mudd allowed just three hits, two of them in the sixth when the Raiders scored their only runs. He walked two and struck out seven
Shiarella came on in the sixth with no outs and a runner at second base and proceeded to retire the next three batters in order. He walked the leadoff batter in the seventh, but retired the next three batters to earn the save. He did not allow a hit and struck out four Raiders.
The Cougars took a 1-0 lead after two were out in the first inning. Jack Davis doubled to the wall in left-center, the first of three hits for Davis on the day. Catcher Parker Cain followed by topping a ball in front of the plate. Raider catcher Ethan Powell fielded the ball cleanly, but his throw was low at first and skipped down the line in right, allowing Davis to plate the first Cougar run.
Grayson County made it 2-0 with another run in the third. With one out, Hunter Young was hit by a pitch. Landon Nichols grounded out for the second out, but Young was able to advance to second. Davis then ripped his second straight double to plate Young. Cain struck out to end the inning.
The Cougars scored twice in the fourth inning to make it 4-0. Shiarella led off with an infield single. Braxton Hodges followed with a slow roller to Raider shortstop Matthew Atwell, who took his time on the play and threw to second trying for the force. But Shiarella was able to beat the throw, leaving runners at first and second with no one out.
Mudd grounded out, but advanced the runners to second and third. Jacob Vincent followed with a ground-out to second base, driving home Shiarella and moving Hodges to third with two outs. Chandler England singled up the middle, bringing in Hodges to make it 4-0. Young followed with a single to put runner at first and second, but Nichols grounded out to end the inning.
Mudd was working on a no hitter entering the fifth inning, but gave up a one-out single to Seth Priddy to take the no-no out of consideration. He then ran into trouble in the sixth inning, when the Raiders rallied for two runs.
Powell led off the inning by hitting a ball into the hole at deep short. He was able to beat Young’s throw for an infield hit, and when Young’s low throw got past Davis at first, Powell advanced to second. Atwell followed by lacing a double down the line in right to plate Powell to make it 4-1.
When Mudd walked Zack Highbaugh, Cougar coach Gavin Logsdon brought in Shiarella in relief. The right-hander got Zach Groce to ground out for the first out of the inning as both runners moved up a base. A wild pitch brought in Atwell to make it 4-2, but Shiarella struck out the next two batters to end the threat.
Shiarella walked Priddy leading off the seventh and Priddy reached second on a passed ball. But Shiarella struck out Mason Roten and Kenny Riggs, then got Powell to ground out to end the game.
The Cougars showed grit all day as they came back from deficits three times in the early going to tie the score, then came back a fourth time in the sixth to erase a one-run Owensboro lead and take the lead for good with four runs.
Senior lefty Gage Akridge went the distance to earn the win. He allowed just two earned runs on six hits. He walked two and struck out nine.
The Red Devils took an early 1-0 lead with an unearned run in the second inning. Designated hitter Nick Belcher rolled a grounder to Young at short leading off the inning, and was safe when Young’s throw skipped past Davis at first.
Akridge walked Dylan Webb and both runners advanced a base on a wild pitch before Will Hemingway’s fly ball to right plated Belcher to make it 1-0. Akridge then struck out Brennon Williams and Isaac Humphrey to end the inning.
The Cougars scored in their half of the second to tie things 1-1. Cougar catcher Parker Cain earned a leadoff walk and was replaced on the base paths by Josh Meridith, who then stole second base.
Red Devils starter and loser Lance Lewis retired Shiarella and Hodges before giving up a ground ball to Mudd. Third-baseman Dakota Dull’s throw was on the money, but first-baseman Brennon Williams missed the throw and Meridith came home on the error.
Owensboro scored again in the third inning to go in front 2-1. Braxton French was safe when his little nubber in front of the plate was booted by Akridge for an error. French stole second base before Griffin Haire flew out to right for the first out.
Akridge had Blakely McAlister struck out on a pitch in the dirt, but Cain’s throw to first was wild and French came in to score to make it 2-1.
The Cougars came right back to tie it again with a run in the bottom of the third. England singled to left and moved to second on a wild pitch. With one out, Nichols doubled to the wall in left-center to bring in England with the tying run.
The Red Devils scored three times in the fourth inning to go up 5-2. Webb led off with a double to left and moved to third on a ground out by Hemingway. Williams drove Webb home with a single. Humphrey followed with a looper to left that fell in for a hit and he moved to second when the throw to third trying to get Williams was late.
French grounded to second for the second out, but Williams scored on the play as Humphrey moved to third. Haire followed with a grounder to Nichols at second for what should have been the final out of the inning, but Nichols threw the ball in the dirt for an error as Humphrey came home to make it 5-2.
But the Cougars came back again, sending nine men to the plate in their half of the fourth and scoring three times to tie it again 5-5. With one out, Hodges singled to left before Lewis issued back-to-back walks to Mudd and Vincent to load the bases.
England hit a little looper that dropped in for a hit to plate Hodges and leave the bases loaded. Young followed with a ground ball to Haire at second that brought in Mudd with the second run of the inning. When Haire, trying for the force out at second base, threw the ball into left field, everyone was safe and the bags were still loaded.
Nichols then lofted a fly ball to left that drove in Vincent with the tying run. The Cougars loaded the bases again with two outs, but Lewis struck out Shiarella to end the inning.
The Red Devils scored again in the fifth inning to go in front once again, 6-5. Belcher singled with one out and later came around to score on a wild pitch.
After going out in order in the fifth inning, the Cougars roared back with four runs in the bottom of the sixth. Vincent led off with a single and was replaced on the bases by Meridith, who moved to second when Young was hit by a pitch with one out. The runners moved up a base on a wild pitch before Nichols grounded back to the pitcher for the second out.
Davis walked to load the bases for Cain, who drove in Meridith when Cain was hit by a pitch. That brought up Shiarella, who laced a 1-2 pitch to the wall in deep right center, clearing the bases and giving the Cougars a 9-6 lead. Hodges lined out to left to end the inning, but the damage had been done.
Akridge gave up a leadoff single to McCalister, who stole second and moved to third on a ground out by Dull, but Akridge struck out Belcher and got Webb to pop up for the third out to end the game
Reach Don Brown at 259-9622, ext 2016.