Middlesboro heads to postseason with momentum
Published 6:16 pm Monday, May 21, 2018
Middlesboro capped off the regular season in impressive fashion on Friday when they hosted Clay County. The Jackets used a big fifth-inning rally to coast past the Tigers for a 9-2 victory.
The win caps off what has been an impressive home-stand for Middlesboro — who has won two of their final three home games. The only loss came against region-leading Whitley County.
Tyler McCullough paced the Jackets at the plate going 2-for-2 including a two-run homer in the third. He finished the day with four runs after reaching on two hit-by-pitches. Jeremiah Wilder also put two runs on the board courtesy of Jacob Mike’s two-hit performance.
Chase Elliott, Tyshawn Simpson and Brad Short also earned runs on the evening.
Jacob Spurlock picked up the win on the mound for Middlesboro. Through six innings, he allowed two runs on three hits. He struck out nine batters while walking three. Collier Elkins closed the game out in the seventh.
Clay County, who had earned as many as 20 runs in a single game this season, was held to just three hits at the plate. William Clonce led the effort finishing the game with a solo home run on his lone hit of the day.
Colby Howard scored one run on one hit. Cameron Farmer tallied the other hit for the Tigers after striking out twice.
Blake Mills was credited with the loss for Clay County after allowing three runs on four hits in three innings. Howard and Matthan Fields also saw time on the mound during the game.
Middlesboro jumped out in front 1-0 early in the first after Mike drove in McCullough. Clay County responded in the second when Howard scored on an error to tie the game at 1-1.
The Tigers looked to be gaining momentum when Clonce smacked a line dive home run over the center-field fence to give Clay a 2-1 lead.
Not to be shown up, McCullough stepped up to the plate and crushed a two-run homer over the left-field fence to return the lead back to Middlesboro, 3-2, heading into the fourth inning.
The game remained silent until the Jackets stepped up to the plate in the bottom half of the fifth. Howard hit three straight batters to load the bases out of the gate. McCullough and Mike scored on fielding errors to increase the lead to 5-2.
Chris Callihan scored on a fielder’s choice to widen the margin to 6-2 before an RBI by Elkins increased the lead to five runs, 7-2.
Middlesboro put the game out of reach in the sixth. McCullough scored on a passed ball before Wilder scored on a sac-fly by Spurlock to give the Jackets a seven-run lead and the victory.
Middlesboro (18-11) opened the 52nd District Tournament against Bell County (14-12) on Monday.
Clay County (22-11) opened the 49th District Tournament against Jackson County on Monday.
Reach Anthony Cloud at 606-302-9090 or on Twitter @AnthonyCloudMDN