Middlesboro’s 12-year-old All-Stars were eliminated from the district tournament on Thursday after losing to Knox County 10-6. Knox County was the only team to defeat Middlesboro in both the Area 3 and district tournaments.
“I’m proud of you,” said coach Tony McCullough to his team after the game. “You did a great job, every one of you. We came a long way — to the second round of the district tournament.”
McCullough continued to say Knox County had a good game.
“They were on it tonight, and we weren’t,” said McCullough.
Middlesboro displayed another strong game at the plate. TJ Patterson led the team by going 2-3 with one walk. Eric Helton and Chandler Mink both hit home runs in the third inning.
For Knox County, Logan McDonald had a strong outing at the plate. He went 2-2 with a walk. Isaac Mills went 2-4, and Braxton Smith hit a home run after going 1-3.
Dillon Clark and Hannah McCullough had pitching duties for Middlesboro. Clark, who pitched 2 innings, had four strikeouts. McCullough finished the game and also had four strikeouts.
Jevante Turner pitched the majority of the game for Knox County, throwing five strikeouts in the process.
Knox County jumped in front early. The team scored four runs in the bottom of the first. Turner hit a single to lead off. He scored on a single by Mills.
Mills stole second and third while Smith was at-bat. He scored on a wild pitch.
Braden Hembree was walked by Clark after six pitches during his at-bat. He scored following a triple by Logan McDonald, who then scored on a double by Matthew Warren. At the end of the first, Knox County held a 4-0 lead over Middlesboro.
Middlesboro cut into the lead in the second inning. Patterson started things off by hitting a double to get on base. Hunter Hoskins got on base after getting hit by a pitch from Turner.
Patterson stole third while Mink was at-bat. Mink ultimately struck out in four pitches.
Tyshaun Simpson loaded the bases after being hit by a pitch. Steven Justice hit an RBI single to score Patterson, bringing the score to 4-1. McCullough grounded out to end the inning with runners on base.
Middlesboro took over the lead at the top of the third. After a fly out by Clark, Helton hit a solo home run into center field to bring Middlesboro to within two. Patterson and Hoskins hit singles to get on base.
Mink hit a home run to right-center field to add three runs to the board, giving Middlesboro a 5-4 lead over Knox County.
Simpson and Thomas Justice got on base after being hit by pitches. Steven Justice hit a fly ball, and McCullough grounded out to end Middlesboro’s at-bat.
Knox County reclaimed the lead at the bottom of the third. McDonald singled to get on base. Logan Maher was then walked by McCullough. Lorenzo Smith hit a RBI triple to score both base runners to give Knox a 6-5 lead.
Smith later scored on a single by Turner to give Knox a 7-5 lead.
A run by Clark brought Middlesboro within one at the top of the fourth. He hit a single to lead off the inning. He later scored after stealing home on a wild pitch with Mink at-bat. Going into the bottom of the fourth, Middlesboro trailed Knox 7-6.
Smith hit a home run to lead off the bottom of the fourth for Knox. Hembree and McDonald scored runs to put Knox up 9-6 heading into the fifth inning.
The final run of the game was scored by Knox County’s Jordan Collins in the fifth inning. The final score was 10-6 in favor of Knox County.
Reach Anthony Cloud at 606-302-9090 or on Twitter @AnthonyCloudMDN