Bears sweep Bell in district twinbill

Published 9:55 pm Monday, May 7, 2018

After struggling to finish off a win early in the season, Harlan County senior righthander Cameron Nease has found himself the past two weeks against district competition.

Nease, who beat Middlesboro last week, pushed the Bears to within one win of clinching a tie for the top seed in the 52nd District Tournament with an 11-1 rout of visiting Bell County on Monday in the first game of a doubleheader. Nease worked around seven hits, including three straight singles in both the fourth and sixth innings, as he struck out five and walked none in the six-inning game.

“Cameron knows what to throw. He does a real good job of reading bats,” Harlan County assistant coach Drew Chamberlain said. “He locates real well and does a good job of mixing it up.”

Harlan County (7-8) had several stars on offense, led by sophomore catcher Tyler Casolari and junior outfielder Matthew Simpson with three singles each. Caleb Carmical had two singles. Devon Rodrigues added a double. Benjamin Lewis, Hunter Goodwin, Jon Wilder and Quinton Boggs contributed one single each.

“It’s contagious sometimes,” Chamberlain said. “We have some guys who can put hits together. Casolari and several others had good days today.”

Jacob Smith, Ethan Brock and Jason Jones each had two singles, with back-to-back-to-back hits in the fourth and sixth innings. D.J. Estes had a single in the second inning.

Nease worked out of a bases-loaded jam in the fourth inning, then gave up a run in the sixth with the three hits to go with an error. An extended rundown ended the Bell rally as the Bears recorded outs between third and home and between second and third.

Harlan County left the bases loaded in the second inning before breaking through in the third as Carmical beat out a two-out infield hit and Goodwin followed by reaching on a fielder’s choice. Casolari brought in the first run with a single to center. Matthew SImpson followed with an RBI single up the middle.

Carmical and Casolari each had RBI hits in the fourth inning as the Bears’ lead grew to 6-0 as two more runs scored on two Bell errors.

Rodrigues doubled home Simpson in the fifth inning, then stole third and scored on errant throw to make the score 8-0.

A hit batsman and error produced the first of three HCHS runs in the sixth inning to end the game via the 10-run mercy rule. Simpson singled in a run and Boggs ended the game with a hit to right field.

Harlan County completed the doubleheader sweep by rallying from a 4-0 deficit to win 9-4.

Rodrigues led the Bears on offense with a triple and double. Goodwin had a double and single. Nease singled twice. Lewis added a double. Carmical and Justin Brown contributed one single each.

Carmical earned the win as he allowed one run on two hits in five innings on the mound, striking out six and walking two. Lewis gave up three runs in two innings even though he did no allow a hit. Lewis struck out three and walked six.

Jones and Alex Mayes each had singles for the Bobcats. Mayes drove in two runs and Hayden Clark drove in one.

Harlan County (8-8) will play host to Knott Central on Tuesday. Bell County (11-9) will travel to Oneida Baptist on Tuesday.

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Bell County 000 001 — 1 7 7

Harlan County 002 423 — 11 13 3

Estes, Mays (5) and Wombles; Nease and Casolari. WP — Nease (2-2). LP — Estes.

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Bell County 013 000 0 — 4 2 0

Harlan County 001 035 x — 9 9 2

Jones, Wombles (6) and Wombles; Lewis, Carmical (3) and Casolari. WP — Carmical (3-3). LP — Jones.