Eight Bell County errors led to eight unearned runs for North Laurel on Thursday as the Bobcats lost to the Jaguars, 9-4. There were some positives as Bell County out-hit the 13th Region favorites 7-6 and some younger players helped to scratch for two late runs after starters Dylan Cox and Chase Woolum were benched for ineffective defense.
“We started the game off bad and you can’t do that against a team like North Laurel. It seemed like two players, our shortstop and our first baseman made seven errors apiece. They couldn’t throw and they couldn’t catch,” Bell coach Scott Chaney said. “When you’ve got juniors that can’t throw and can’t catch you can’t leave them in there so we sat those two out and put some young players in and they did a good job.”
Bell was playing catch-up from the start as Ethan Maxey led the game off by reaching on an error, Cole Lewis walked and Zach Hunley also reached on an error as the first run scored. Austin Thompson added an RBI single and Logan Mallory a two-run single to put North up 4-0 after one.
North added another run in the second as Byron Rice reached on an error and later scored on a wild pitch.
The Bobcats got on the board in the bottom of the third. Caleb Smith led off with a walk and stole second. He was thrown out going for third on Aaron Jenkins’ grounder to short, but Dylan Cox followed with a double to bring Jenkins home all the way from first.
Ethan Mason, who relieved Austin North to start the third inning, retired the fist five batters he faced. But he hit Jack Capobianco with a pitch with two out in the fourth and Rice reached on an error. Maxey delivered a two-out, two-run single to extend the Jag lead to 7-1.
Zach Turner took over on the mound for the fifth and didn’t have any better luck with his defense. Hurley reached on error and two outs later Austin Rudder also reached on a Bobcat miscue. Jake McWhorter walked to load the bases and Capobianco followed with a two-run single.
Bell County had pushed across a run in the fourth inning when Hayden Gilbert single and later scored as Mason reached on an error so the score was 9-2 after five.
Scotty Fields took over on the mound to start the sixth inning and he kept the Jags off the board and gave up just one hit over the final two innings.
“Scotty has been working on his pitching in some JV games and he was throwing strikes,” Chaney said. “We pitched everybody two innings in this one to save them and all of them pitched well. It wasn’t the pitching, it wasn’t the hitting, it was the errors.”
The Bobcats put up two runs in the seventh. Jenkins reached on an error with one out, Fields singled, and they both moved up on a wild pitch. Jacob Rose followed with an RBI ground out to third and Jordan Wombles singled to score Fields.
Rice, who pitched all seven innings for North Laurel, came back with a strikeout to end the game. He allowed just one earned runs on seven hits while striking out two and walking three in the win.
One positive for the Bobcats was Gilbert’s defense in center field. The junior ran down four fly balls, including that seemed destined for extra bases.
“Hayden is one of the best outfielders in the region and he’s come a long way with his bat. He covers a lot of ground and he took a lot of deep balls in the gaps away from them,” Chaney added. “I’m real proud of Hayden Gilbert right now.”
Bell County (10-10) was scheduled to host Williamsburg on Friday and will visit Cumberland Gap on Monday.
North Laurel (14-7) plays at Lincoln County on Saturday.
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|Byron Rice and Ethan Maxey; Austin North, Ethan Mason (3), Zach Turner (5), Scotty Fields (6) and Caleb Smith. W — Rice. L — North.|