Burgin beats Garrard

May 28, 2004|MARTY WARREN

HARRODSBURG - Burgin reached the 12th Region Baseball Tournament last year for the first time in school history and wanted to repeat that accomplishment.

Garrard County had other ideas when it reached Burgin ace Zack Gross for two runs in the first inning to grab a 2-0 lead here Thursday in the 46th Tournament semifinals. However, the Bulldogs scored 10 runs in the final three frames and eliminated the Golden Lions 11-2 to gain their second straight berth into next week's 12th Region Tournament at North Laurel.

Burgin (14-14) and host Mercer County (18-14) were scheduled to play for the district title this afternoon.

Back-to-back triples by Zach Doan and Matt Hume enabled Garrard (11-19) to grab a 1-0 advantage. Chris Clark followed with a single that scored Hume for a 2-0 lead against Gross.

"We had won five of six games and got off to a great start," Garrard coach Brad Woods said. "But Gross settled down after the first inning and pitched well. He got stronger as the game went along."


After first inning, Gross allowed just three singles

Gross (5-5) gave up only three singles, including two infield hits, the rest of the way. He struck out eight and walked three. Burgin coach Terry Pitman said he "preached" to his senior pitcher about how important is was for him to get ahead in the count.

"We talked to him about how important it was for him to throw first-pitch strikes," the Burgin coach said. "He throws so much better when he is ahead in the count. He really looked relaxed after the first inning."

The Bulldogs got one of the runs back in the second when Josh Carey got a ball up into the strong wind blowing to left field and hit his first home run of the season.

From that point until the fifth, Gross and losing pitcher Jordan Johnson (3-2), who gave up just three hits in 52 /3 innings, pitched shutout baseball.

Johnson struck out Carey and Daniel Loane to begin the fifth, but he hit Seth Trayner with a pitch and Joe Harris followed with a two-run homer to left, his second of the season, to give Burgin a 3-2 lead that it would never relinquish.

"Jordan threw an excellent game," Woods said. "We just couldn't capitalize and score him some runs when we got men on base."

Garrard had its final chance to score off Gross in the bottom half of the inning when Jacob Denny reached on an infield single while Johnson and Doan reached on walks.

Burgin managed to get out of trouble, though, when Carey grabbed Hume's grounder just to the left of the bag at second and turned a double play to end the threat.

"I can't say enough about the way Josh Carey played for us today," Pitman said. "He had a couple of big hits and then he turned a nice double play to get us out of a jam.

"We challenged the kids to make a good defensive effort and we played an error-free game. We harp on them a lot to stay focused and good things will happen. They did everything we asked today."

Bullodgs send 11 hitters to the plate in the seventh

Burgin added two runs on a double by Carey in the sixth, then sent 11 hitters to the plate to score five runs in the seventh to put the game out of reach. The Bulldogs collected six of their nine hits during the frame, including back-to-back home runs from Gross and Sean Bottoms.

"We hit the ball today just like we have been hitting in practice," Pitman added. "We were a little anxious early, but stayed back and hit good pitches late in the game."

Woods pointed to two plays that made all the difference in the game.

"The one play where we made two errors that allowed two runs to score and the double play killed us," the Garrard coach said. "Burgin made all the plays the whole game."

Central Kentucky News Articles