Yellow Jackets drop 2 to Harlan County

Published 1:54 pm Thursday, April 27, 2023

BY PAUL LUNSFORD

Contributing writer

Harlan County completed 52nd District play earlier this week and posted a perfect 6-0 record in district competition.

On Monday, the Black Bears took advantage of five Middlesboro errors and claimed the top seed in the district tournament next month.

Harlan County scored three runs in the opening inning and added five more in the third inning Tuesday as the Bears rolled to a 12-2 win.

It was the first regular-season district sweep for HC since the 2015 campaign.

Sophomore right-hander Alex Creech (3-3) scattered six hits with seven strikeouts and four walks for the Bears.

Junior left-hander Case Bayless suffered the loss for Middlesboro. Kam Wilson and Brady Carroll also saw action on the mound.

Creech powered the Black Bears with a double and two singles. Jonah Swanner and Brayden Blakley each added two singles while Braydon Burton and Carter Howard each doubled. Will Cassim, Tristan Cooper and Isaac Kelly each singled once.

Carroll, a senior, led the Jackets with a double and single. Case Bayless, Colt Bayless, Connor Mason and Conner Winterberger all singled once.

Middlesboro (9-8 overall, 3-3 district) hosted Clay County on Thursday and visited Lynn Camp on Friday.

The Yellow Jackets will travel to Barbourville on Tuesday.

Harlan County (13-9) visited Knott Central on Thursday and plays host to Letcher Central on Monday.

In the other game, Harlan County took a 3-2 edge after one inning, but pushed across two runs each in the fifth and sixth innings to get a 7-2 win over Middlesboro.

Tristan Cooper pitched a three-hitter for the Black Bears including seven strikeouts and four walks in the complete-game.

Winterberger, a senior left-hander, went the distance for the Yellow Jackets. He recorded eight strikeouts and five walks.

Swanner, Cooper, Cassim, Creech, Kelly and Samuel Henson had one single each for HC.

Winterberger homered to led the Middlesboro offense. Colt Bayless and Kam Wilson each added a single.

Middlesboro and Harlan are tied for second place at 3-3 in the district. Bell County finished district play at 0-6.

The Yellow Jackets lead the all-time series at 21-17 against Harlan County.