Jackets advance to regional semis

Published 1:17 am Tuesday, May 29, 2018

The phrase “do your job” was repeated throughout the Middlesboro dugout when they played Barbourville in the opening round of the 13th Region tournament on Monday. Something about that apparently resonated with Chris Callihan.

While the junior designated hitter didn’t reach base once during the game, he drove in two runs to help the Jackets hand Barbourville a 3-1 defeat.

With the win, Middlesboro does more than advance to the semifinals of the tournament. They avenge an earlier season loss to the Tigers that ended a nearly five-year run to the sectional round of the All A tournament.

Besides Callihan’s two RBI, Tyler McCullough paced the Jackets at the plate. He scored two runs on one hit and one walk. Brad Short finished with one run on one hit.

Jacob Spurlock picked up the win on the mound after throwing the complete game. He allowed one run on five hits while striking out nine batters.

Mitch Buchanan led Barbourville scoring one run on one hit. The sophomore also paced the Tigers on the mound. Through 5 1/3 innings, he allowed all three runs on five hits. Dakota Tye closed the game for the Tigers.

Barbourville jumped ahead 1-0 in the first after Buchanan scored following a lead-off single.

The Jackets had a chance to tie the game in the bottom half of the inning after Collier Elkins reached on a single and Chase Elliott reached on a walk. A fly out and two strikeouts stranded two runners.

Middlesboro had another chance to take the lead in the bottom of the second. With two outs, Brandon Helton was hit by a pitch and Joshua Arnold reached on an error. Elkins was walked to load the bases.

An Elliott strike out ended the inning with bases loaded to keep the deficit at 1-0.

The Jackets finally evened the game up in the third after an RBI by Callihan scored McCullough to tie the score at 1-1. Middlesboro took a 2-1 lead in the bottom half of the fifth after Callihan drove in McCullough for a second time.

The Jackets extended their lead in the sixth. After reaching on a walk, Short scored on an error to give Middlesboro the two-run advantage.

Barbourville still had hope as a lead-off single by Caleb Powers started off the seventh. Middlesboro sit the next three batters to end the game.

Up Next

Middlesboro (21-11) advances to the 13th Region semifinals at 8 p.m. Tuesday to play Whitley County (24-11).

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