Aggressiveness on the basepaths paid off for the Bell County Bobcats in Wednesday’s 11-0 win over Williamsburg. Bell was constantly putting pressure on the Yellow Jacket defense by sending runners and looking for the extra base. The Bobcats stole five bases and forced a couple of throwing errors that led to runs. They also executed more often than not on the hit and run.
“We’ve been working on a few things. We haven’t been able to play very many games here lately because of all the rain, we’ve just been inside practicing and doing things to try and get ourselves ready for the district next week,” Bobcat coach Scott Chaney said.
The strategy paid off right from the start. Hayden Gilbert led off the bottom of the first by drawing a walk and he was off and running when Evan Brock hit a grounder to short. With Gilbert already at second, the only play was to get Brock out at first. Dylan Cox then hit a grounder to third and Gilbert took off for third as the Williamsburg third baseman started to throw to first. He may have noticed Gilbert out of the corner of his eye as he released the throw and it went low and skipped by the first baseman for an error as Gilbert scored.
Jacob Rose, who led Bell with three hits, singled to put runners at the corners with one out. He was running on Chase Woolum’s fly out to shallow right and was doubled up to end the inning.
That was about the only mistake the Bobcats made. The one-run lead was all pitchers Austin North and Zach Turner needed as they combined on a five-inning two-hitter. North was perfect through the first two frames and Bell County took control by putting up six runs in the bottom of the second.
Aaron Jenkins walked and took off for second to create a hole for Jared Slusher’s base hit through the right side. Devon Miller dropped a bunt down the third base line for a hit to load the bases. Jenkins scored on a wild pitch and North followed with a two-run single to left for a 4-0 lead.
Courtesy runner Jordan Wombles stole second and took third on a passed ball. Brock walked with one out and attempted to get picked off and start a rundown to allow Wombles to score, but the throw to second went into the outfield for an error as Wombles scored and Brock went to third. Cox walked and stole second and Rose followed with a two-run base hit to make it 7-0.
Williamsburg had their biggest scoring threat in the top of the third inning. Aaron Powers walked, Alec Poore hit into a 5-4 fielder’s choice, then a hit by Dakota Dunn and walk to Alex Patterson loaded the bases. North induced a grounder to second where Brock threw to Woolum for one out and Woolum fired a strike to Cox to complete the inning-ending double-play.
“Austin has been doing a good job every time out. He’s one of the best pitchers we’ve got and when he throws strikes we’ve been making plays for him,” Chaney said. “The only trouble he’s been getting into is with the walks. They got the bases loaded and he had walked two of those runners, but we turned a good double-play to get him out of the inning.”
In the bottom of the inning, North drew a two-out walk and Wombles stole second. Gilbert followed with an RBI single through the left side for an 8-0 lead. An error in the outfield allowed Gilbert to take second on the play.
Slusher, Miller and Brock added RBI singles in the fourth to extend the Bobcat advantage to 11-0.
“We had a couple of base-running mistakes. We’re still not keeping our heads in the game at all times,” Chaney added. “We went up big and then they kind of relaxed, they way they are I just can’t let them relax. We’re just trying to go for that first winning season and hopefully we can keep it going the rest of the week.”
North gave up just one hit while walking three and striking out one over his four innings. Turner worked around a walk to Poore and a Patterson single in the fifth by getting two strike outs and a grounder to Rose at third to end the game.
Bell County (13-11) is scheduled to play at Lynn Camp on Friday in their regular season finale while Williamsburg (3-23) hosts Harlan.
Bell County will play Middlesboro in the first round of the 52nd District Tournament at 8 p.m. on Monday at MHS.
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|Dalton Sizemore, Alex Patterson (2), Alec Poore (4) and Darrell White; Austin North, Zach Turner (5) and Aaron Jenkins. W — North. L — Sizemore.|