Pulaski ousts Danville 7-1

June 04, 2004|MARTY WARREN

LONDON - Danville played favored Pulaski County and ace pitcher Cole Draughn on even terms through four innings Thursday, but Pulaski's bats came alive when it meant the most.

Junior Joey Beldon matched Draughn pitch for pitch until Pulaski (24-6) scored three times in the fifth, once more in the sixth and put the game away with three more runs in the seventh to eliminate the Admirals 7-1 in the 12th Region Tournament semifinals at North Laurel.

"It all came down to who made the first mistake," Beldon, who finished the season with an 8-5 pitching record, said. "(C.J.) Lynn called for a fastball and I hung the pitch inside. Draughn is a great hitter, and good hitters hit mistake pitches and make you pay."

Danville coach Paul Morse said he couldn't ask for anything more than Beldon was able to give.

"He made quality pitches and threw extremely well," the Danville coach said. "The thing about a game like this is the team that scores first gains a huge advantage. It puts you on the defensive and sometimes you try to do too much, too quick. We had runners on base throughout the game, but we couldn't get a key hit in crucial situations."


Beldon threw 56 pitches entering the fifth and got Josh Hawk to ground out to second to begin the fifth. Ryan Biggerstaff,singled to right, stole second and went to third on Andrew Ellington's single. Draughn, who had walked in his previous two appearances, lined a double over left fielder Davis Teater's head to score two runs. One out later, Brett Faulkner singled to left to score Draughn and gave Pulaski a 3-0 lead.

Pulaski added a run in the sixth to lead 4-0 before Danville (24-12) got its only run.

Hawkins' double scores run

With two outs, Deangelo Durham singled to left field and was replaced by pinch runner Patrick Green. Green stole second and scored when Ronnie Hawkins, who led the Admirals with two hits, doubled to left. The inning ended for the Ads, who stranded seven runners on base, when Teater flied out to center field.

"Down 4-0, we never thought we were out of the game, even against Draughn," Lynn said. "We came back against good teams all year."

"We knew about Draughn's fastball, but he had a better curve than we expected," Beldon said. "He spotted his slider on the inside corner and when we made contact, it wasn't very hard. I thought he would underestimate us and let up when he got the lead, and we didn't capitalize when we had runners on base. That hurt us."

Danville left one runner on in each of the first three innings, and had its best opportunity to break the scoreless tie in the fourth. Hawkins and Teater reached with two outs, but Beldon struck out to end the threat.

Pulaski added three runs on three hits in the seventh inning off freshman reliever Rich Witten to put the game out of reach. The big blow in the frame came when Faulkner tripled down the right field line to score two runs.

"Our pitching has been great throughout the tournament," Morse added. "Sometimes good hitters hit good pitches. I thought they hit a couple excellent pitches that happened to find the gaps in our defense.

"We had people in position to score and just couldn't get them in but you have to give (Draughn) credit. Good pitchers bare down when they get in trouble. If we could have scored in a couple of those situations, the score might have been different."

Draughn gives up six hits, fans 12

Draughn threw 108 pitches in the complete-game effort. He gave up six hits while fanning 12 and walking just one. Beldon yielded four runs on seven hits while walking three and striking out three.

Hawkins led the Ads with two hits while Lynn, Durham, Deshaun Warren and Ryan Funkhouser had one hit each.

Beldon said it took a heart-breaking loss to Lincoln County last season for the Ads to realize how much they missed not being able to reach regional play.

"We realized after that loss that only hard work would get us in the position that we are in tonight," Beldon said. "Now that we have come this far, we won't be satisfied with anything less than a state championship next season."

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