BOWLING GREEN — When the Scotties and Lakers played earlier this season, they combined for 54 runs, with Russell County winning by six.
While they didn’t have such explosive bats in the opening round of the Region 4 tournament, the result was the same, as the Lakers defeated Glasgow 7-5 on Monday at Western Kentucky University.
The Scotties (16-17) trailed Russell County (26-8) by four runs heading into the top of the seventh inning, and Glasgow junior Tucker Kirkpatrick got on base after a Laker outfielder dropped a fly ball.
With one out, junior Jaden Franklin reached first base off another Russell County error to put Scottie runners on first and second, and then junior Nik Sorrell hit an RBI single to right field, advancing to second on the play.
Glasgow sophomore Cole Stephens hit a sacrifice fly to center field which scored Franklin and advanced Sorrell to third — making it a two-run game — but the Lakers were then able to get the final out for the victory.
“We kept battling back,” Glasgow coach Sam Royse said. “We fought back, and we had a chance right there at the end of the ball game.”
Royse said he was happy with his team’s fight and their unwillingness to give up, “but we came down here to win a ball game.”
“We just didn’t play a complete game,” he said. “It just didn’t happen today.”
In the top of the first inning, Kirkpatrick hit a one-out single to center field, and later advanced to third as senior starting pitcher Jaydon Wells hit a single to right field – but Russell County was later able to get out of the inning unscathed.
The Scotties then retired the Lakers in the bottom of the frame with the help of Wells’ first strikeout and a diving catch by Sorrell.
With one out in the top of the second, Glasgow senior Thad Dial hit an infield single which was followed by a single to right field from sophomore Tyler Lane. With runners on first and second, senior Tanner Siebold hit a grounder into a fielder’s choice but beat out the double play at first. Russell County was then able to strand the two Scottie runners to keep the game scoreless.
After retiring the first two Laker batters in the bottom of the second, Glasgow went on to give up four runs, which included three straight walks from Wells and a two-RBI single to right field from Russell County senior Peyton Back.
“We ran into a little control problem,” Royse said. “And they capitalized on that.”
The Scotties got on the board in the top of the third after Wells and Franklin collected back-to-back singles and the Lakers made an error that scored a run for Glasgow.
After Wells tallied his fourth walk of the game, Siebold replaced him on the mound with one out in the bottom of the third, and the Scotties were able to retire two straight hitters.
Both teams were scoreless in the fourth inning.
Kirkpatrick got to first base in the top of the fifth inning on a Laker error, and then Franklin hit an RBI single to center field to make it a two-run game. Franklin was able to advance to second on the play after the Russell County catcher lost track of the ball, and then Stephens drove in Franklin with a bunt down the first-base line to cut the Lakers’ lead to 4-3.
To lead off the bottom of the fifth, Russell County junior Hunter Thomas smacked a double down the third-base line. The Scotties should have later retired the Lakers with the help of two strikeouts by Siebold, but the last pitch hit the dirt, and an error led to a Russell County score to give the Lakers a 5-3 advantage.
Siebold struck out another batter, but the pitch was in the dirt, and another Scottie error led to runners on first and third. The Lakers capitalized on the situation with two more scores for a 7-3 lead — the second run came with runners on first and third, and the Russell County runner on first base baited a rundown, but was tagged out after the runner at third was able to score.
The Lakers retired three straight Scotties in the top of the sixth with the help of two strikeouts from sophomore starting pitcher Nick Aaron, and Siebold stranded three Russell County runners in the bottom of the frame with his fourth strikeout of the contest — but the Scotties fell two runs short in the seventh.
“We have great seniors,” Royse said. “They’ve meant a lot to our program, and we’re sad to see them go.
“Our seniors have so much to look forward to — they’re all such good guys. They’re all so intelligent. They’re going to make our school proud. They’re going to make themselves proud.”