Barren County and Atherton were engaged in a pitcher’s duel for four innings Wednesday before the Trojans secured a 4-3 win at the Florida Beach Bash. Barren County followed that victory with a 6-1 win Thursday over Bellbrook, Ohio, to remain undefeated during the spring break schedule.
The Trojans are now 9-6 on the season.
Against Atherton, Cole Scott got the start on the mound and pitched five innings, giving up one unearned run on four hits and three walks while striking out seven.
Atherton broke the scoring ice in the top of the fifth inning, plating a run on a walk, a Trojan error and a deep double to left field. Scott struck out the next batter, then forced a fly out to center field.
Barren County answered in the bottom half with two runs. After an out, Bryton McGuire got an infield hit, Barrett Billingsley followed with a double off the left field wall that put runners on second and third. Cole Payne hit into a fielder’s choice, scoring McGuire, and Andy Highbaugh singled to right field to score Billingsley.
A Trojan pitching change brought Hunter Carroll to the hill in the top of the sixth inning. Atherton responded with a run on two hits and a Trojan miscue to tie the game at 2-2.
After Atherton took a 3-2 lead in the top of the seventh, Payne walked and Highbaugh hit a ball to second, but the Atherton fielder hesitated and Payne slid into second just ahead of the throw, putting runners at first and second. Britt Crabtree then lined a single to right field. With a play at the plate to end or tie the game, Payne eluded the catcher’s tag by hurdling over him, tying the score at 3-3. A walk to Clay Groce loaded the bases with two outs. Barren County’s designated hitter, Luke Hagan, then drew a walk, and Highbaugh trotted across the plate for a Trojan victory.
“We kept fighting and got people on base and then Britt came through for us,” said Barren County coach Johnny Vance. “Their pitcher had trouble throwing strikes in the end.
“We have got to hit it better with that kind of pitching. That kid threw it in the high 70s and we have got to do a better job of hitting top to bottom on our lineup.”
Against Bellbrook on Thursday, Andrew Baise got his second Florida start, pitching seven innings and allowing one run on six scattered hits while striking out five Golden Eagles and walking four.
“Baise pitched well,” Vance said. “That was his fourth start and he has pitched well in all of them. He has stayed down with the ball and has limited the other team’s scoring opportunities.”
The first pitch of the game set the tone for the Barren County hitters. Billingsley drove a line drive over the centerfielder’s head for a lead-off triple. Payne lined the next pitch to right field to plate Billingsley.
Bellbrook responded with a run on a double, two walks and a ground-ball double play.
The game remained tied at 1-1 until the top of the fourth, when Highbaugh walked and stole second base on the next pitch. Crabtree singled to left field, scoring Highbaugh for a 2-1 advantage.
Barren County added three more runs in the fifth as McGuire reached base on a fielder’s choice and Billingsley singled to right on a hit and run, placing runners on first and third. Billingsley stole second a couple of pitches later, and McGuire scored on a wild pitch to send Billingsley to third. Highbaugh got an infield single, scoring Billingsley. After another stolen base by Highbaugh, Scott lined a single to right center field, plating Highbaugh and giving Barren County a 5-1 lead.
The Trojans tacked on an insurance run in the top of the seventh as Payne doubled to left field and Scott doubled to right center field, scoring Payne.
“We played a complete game, one of the best all year,” Vance said. “We hit the ball, pitched well and played good defense. Grayson (Hyatt) hit it well today and that will be a big plus if he continues.”
Payne and Grayson Hyatt each had three hits of the Trojans’ total of 13.
Barren County will play its final game in Florida at noon Friday against Louisville Holy Cross.
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