Jackets fall in All A semis

Published 1:17 pm Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Middlesboro faced a difficult task on Tuesday. After having their first game in the 13th Region All A postponed on Monday, the Yellow Jackets had to defeat both Lynn Camp and Barbourville in the same day to advance to the championship round.

For the first time since 2013, someone else will be representing the 13th Region in the sectional round of the All A tournament. Middlesboro made it past their first test of the day defeating Lynn Camp 19-0 in six innings, but stumbled against Barbourville losing 6-4.

“They’re calling for rain the rest of the week (and) we’re trying to get this in before we leave for the beach so we don’t get knocked out of it. (If) we didn’t get it in, they were going to play it while we were at the beach and knock us out, which I don’t think is fair,” said Middlesboro coach John Smith about why they had to play two games in one day. “I think something needs to change about this All A regional — when we start it. It’s played way too early.

“Us and one other region are the only two regions playing before spring break. Everybody’s playing theirs after spring break. I just think something needs to change. Somebody needs to look at something, and things need to change.”

Game 1: Middlesboro 19, Lynn Camp 0

The Jackets fought little resistance in their first game of the day easily handling Lynn Camp 19-0 to advance to the second round of the 13th Region All A.

While Middlesboro racked up the runs, it was Jacob Spurlock’s impressive performance on the mound the led the way. The senior pitched a complete game allowing no hits while striking out 16 batters to earn the win.

The Jackets took advantage of some pitching miscues at the plate. The team scored eight runs when a batter reached base after being hit by a pitch or being walked.

Chase Elliott and Tyler McCullough paced the team with both players going 2-for-4 while scoring three runs apiece. Elliott registered three RBIs on the night, while McCullough tallied two. Josh Arnold also finished the game 2-for-4 and tallied four runs and an RBI on the day.

Middlesboro jumped out to a 6-0 lead by the third inning. The Jackets increased their lead to 8-0 in the top half of the inning after a fielding error allowed Arnold and Elliott to score.

After a silent fourth and fifth inning, Middlesboro put the game away in the sixth. The team tallied 11 runs to secure the 19-run victory.

Game 2: Barbourville 6, Middlesboro 4

The Jackets battled back-and-forth with Barbourville in their second game of the day. After overcoming a two-run deficit in the sixth, Middlesboro gave up a two-run homer in the seventh that secured their 6-4 defeat to the Tigers.

“We started out swinging the bat in the first inning pretty hot. Then we sort of…sit back (and) were relaxed a little bit there in the middle of the game,” said Smith. “We got down two runs in the sixth and battled back to tie it up. (Barbourville) gets a big hit, a two-run homer.

“We get the bases loaded and a chance to win it there in the bottom of the seventh and just couldn’t punch a run across. We couldn’t get that timely hit when we needed it. It seems like everybody else is doing it to us right — getting that hit when they need it. We just keep coming up short.”

With the loss, the Jackets will not be able to walk away with the 13th Region All A crown for the first time since 2013.

Spurlock led the team at the plate going 2-for-3 with one RBI. McCullough went 2-for-4 with one run and one RBI. Elliott ended the night 1-for-3 with one run. As courtesy runners, Tyshawn Simpson and Owen McWilliams also crossed home plate.

McCullough was credited with the loss after giving up a two-run homer in the top half of the seventh.

For Barbourville, Trey Owens paced the team going 3-for-4 with two RBIs. Despite striking out three times, Conner Bain was the hero hitting what would be a game winning two-run homer. Trenton Schall went 2-for-3 with two RBIs.

Mitchell Buchanan earned the victory after pitching 6 1/3 innings. Bain earned the save after coming in during the bottom half of the seventh.

Middlesboro took a 1-0 lead in the first after an RBI single by McCullough. The lead was short-lived as Caleb Powers scored on the Schall RBI to tie the game at 1-1. The Tigers scored one more run on an error to take a 2-1 at the end of the second.

The Jackets tied the game again in the third. After reaching on an error, McCullough scored on the Spurlock single to knot the game at 2-all.

Barbourville answered in the fourth scoring two runs to claim a 4-2 lead.

After two silent innings for the Jackets, Middlesboro found life in the sixth. With two outs, a fielding error on a fly ball allowed Simpson to score to cut the deficit to 4-3.

The Jackets used a little bit of trickery to tie the game. Middlesboro pulled a double steal. Barbourville focused on the runner stealing second, which allowed McWilliams to score and tie the game at 4-4.

Bain’s two-run homer in the top half of the seventh gave Barbourville the two-run lead.

Middlesboro had a chance to tie or take the lead in the bottom half of the seventh. A throwing error allowed Jacob Mike to reach first. Spurlock and Brad Short were walked to load the bases with one out on the board.

The Jackets couldn’t take advantage as the next two batters struck out to secure the victory for the Tigers.

Up Next

Middlesboro (1-3) will head to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina next week for the Cal Ripken Experience. The team will play five teams from four different states during their visit.

Barbourville (3-1) battled Williamsburg (3-2) for the 13th Region All A title on Wednesday.

Reach Anthony Cloud at 606-302-9090 or on Twitter @AnthonyCloudMDN