Yellow Jackets split with HCHS

Published 8:05 am Thursday, April 14, 2022

Contributing writer

Middlesboro pushed across five runs in the fourth inning on Monday as the Jackets downed visiting Harlan County 8-1 in 52nd District baseball action.

Case Bayless, a sophomore, pitched a six-hitter to earn the win for the Yellows Jackets with one strikeout and one walk.

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Senior Youssif Nabat led the Jackets with a grand slam. Kameron Wilson added a single.

Shawn Carroll paced the Black Bears with two singles. Nate Shepherd had a double. Isaac Kelly, Will Cassim, Alex Creech and Isaac Kelly each singled once.

Carroll gave up four runs on no hits in three innings and walked six. Brayden Blakley allowed four runs on two hits in three innings, with three strikeouts and five walks.

On Tuesday, Harlan County’s Tristan Cooper scattered seven hits and recorded 14 strikeouts as the Black Bears shutout Middlesboro 1-0.

Cooper, a sophomore right-hander, also walked two batters.

“Cooper was determined today. He had that mindset. He was dominant from the start to the finish,” said first-year Harlan County coach Scotty Bailey said.

“When he threw the ball into center field, he said that’s on me. He’s on right now and throwing strikes. That’s the biggest thing for us.”

Senior Tyler Harris pitched a four-hiiter for the Yellow Jackets. He fanned 13 and walked four.

“It was a good pitchers’ duel, and I’d rather see that than 12-11,” Middlesboro coach John Smith said. “Both pitchers did a heck of a job tonight. It’s been a battle between these two schools since Day 1.”

Harlan County (2-14 overall, 1-1 district) was scheduled to host Letcher Central (10-7) on Thursday and Clay County on Saturday.

The Black Bears have dropped three games to the Cougars already this season.

Middlesboro (7-4, 1-1) played host to Cumberland Gap (Tenn.) on Thursday and were slated to visit Cumberland Gap on Friday.