Middlesboro defeats Jags in regional clash

Published 11:56 am Friday, May 18, 2018

Middlesboro put together a dominate performance against North Laurel on Thursday. A grand slam by Tyler McCullough in the second inning and solid pitching by Jacob Mike set the tone for the game as the Yellow Jackets earned a 12-6 victory over the Jaguars.

Mike picked up the win on the mound throwing a complete game. He allowed nine hits with most coming in the second and seventh innings. He also tossed seven strikeouts and did not allow a walk on the night.

“J-Mike has been a bulldog on the hill for us all year long. He has thrown great in some big games. He came out and did it again tonight,” said Middlesboro coach John Smith. “I think we are starting to click. They understand what’s going on and what’s coming up. Hopefully, we are ready for next week.”

McCullough paced the team at the plate going 2-for-4 with two runs including the grand slam. Mike finished with two RBIs on two hits, while Stephen Justice scored as his courtesy runner.

Chase Elliott scored a run after reaching on a double. He also finished with two RBIs. Jeremiah Wilder, Brad Short and Brandon Helton also finished with two runs apiece.

Kaleb Collett led the way for North Laurel going 2-for-3 with two runs and an RBI. Jack Capobianco scored one run on two hits, and Brian Gray tallied one run and one RBI on one hit. Eli Sizemore and Blake Vanhook also scored runs during the game.

Cole Kelley was credited with the loss after allowing seven runs through 1 1/3 innings. He allowed four hits. Gray and Will Hellard also saw time on the mound.

North Laurel jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the second inning. With two outs on the board, an RBI by Collett gave the Jags a 1-0 lead. North Laurel scored two more runs before the final out was thrown to give them the three-run lead.

The Jackets responded in a big way in the bottom half of the inning. Wilder scored on an error to cut the deficit to 3-1. Two balls and a fielder’s choice loaded the bases. McCullough smacked a grand slam over the fence to give Middlesboro a 5-3 lead.

Elliott and Justice also crossed home to increase the lead to 7-3 heading into the third.

“We got down 3-0. We did that last night (against Whitley County) and got behind and saw some heads drop. I think we came out with a little different attitude today,” said Smith. “We stayed in, stayed focused and came in and threw a five-spot on them. We took the lead, 5-3.”

Middlesboro began building on their lead in the fifth. Joshua Arnold scored on an error to increase the lead to three-runs before RBIs from Elliott and Mike gave the Jackets a 10-3 lead.

Runs from Wilder and Short in the sixth ballooned the Middlesboro lead to 12-3 heading into the final inning.

North Laurel began timing the ball better in the seventh. The Jags tallied four hits in the final inning while tallying three runs, but it wasn’t enough as they lost to the Jackets 12-6.

Up Next

Middlesboro (17-11) was slated to conclude the regular season on Friday against Clay County (22-10).

North Laurel (9-17) travels to Rockcastle County (14-7) on Saturday.

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