West Jessamine rallies past Mercer County in 46th District game

Published 12:00 am Friday, April 13, 2018


Contributing Writer

HARRODSBURG — For two innings Mercer County could do no wrong.

Email newsletter signup

But unfortunately for the Titans, things fell apart in the third inning and a 7-0 lead turned into a 21-9 loss to West Jessamine in a game that, as bizarre as it was, fittingly was played on the eve of Friday the 13th.

In the top of the first, West Jessamine’s Skyler Cannady was hit by a pitch from Josh Barnett. On the next pitch, DH Jacob Cervantes grounded into a double play to quickly end the West Jessamine threat.

Mercer County carried that momentum over to its offense. In the bottom of the inning, disciplined Titans coaxed 3 walks in their first four batters to load the bases.

Jamason Sherrow would then promptly unload the bases on a line drive to left-center field that split the gap and cleared the bases for a three-run double. Sherrow then advanced to third on a wild pitch, scored on a sacrifice fly by Dillon Warren and one inning into the game Mercer led 4-0.

The Titan defense responded again in the second. After Barnett issued a lead off walk to Hunter Peel, he struck out Seth Taylor. Mercer County then turned its second double play in as many innings when Nathaniel Frank ripped a line drive to Titan second baseman Andrew McGinnis who caught it, then threw behind Peel at second who had advanced there just two pitches earlier on a passed ball.

And Mercer’s offense again went to work. Joe Stoeckinger walked, Hunter Armstrong singled and Noah Irvin walked to load the bases with no outs. Tyler Stephens then drove in Stoeckinger and Armstrong’s courtesy runner Sam Baughman, which chased West Jessamine starting pitcher Cannady from the game after just an inning and a third.

Cole Hackney took his place and Mercer County added one more when Sherrow’s ground ball was booted by West third baseman Seth Taylor and the Titans took a 7-0 lead heading into the third.

“We told them in between innings rather we are up 7-0 or 50-0 the game isn’t over. That’s a good team, they won state a few years. We just needed to throw strikes,” said Mercer County head coach Adam Shartzer.

And he hit the nail on the head.

West drew back to back walks to begin the top of the third, then nine-hole hitter Landry Byrd drove in a run with a single. And that set the wheels in motion for strange innings that completely shifted momentum in the game.

With Mercer up 7-1, West leadoff man Blake Crockett doubled in a run to make it 7-2. Cannady walked to load the bases, then Cervantes drew another walk to make it 7-3.

Peel singled in a run to make it 7-4 before Mercer recorded its first out on a fly ball to right, but West Jessamine wasn’t done yet.

Frank singled in a run to make it 7-5, Nick Lee followed that with an RBI single to make it 7-6 and Cole Hackney was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded to tie the game at seven.

Even after giving seven unanswered, Shartzer didn’t think his team was being swayed by the momentum.

“We knew it was going to take more than seven runs. It took them a few innings to really get going but we just couldn’t throw strikes,” Shartzer said.

West took its first lead of the game the very next batter, albeit at the expense of an out, when Byrd drove in his second run of the inning with a sacrifice fly. Two batters later with the bases loaded, Cannady scorched a line drive to right, clearing the bases to make it 11-7. Cervantes then singled in his second run of the inning to make it 12-7.

By the time the top of the third ended, West sent 18 hitters to the plate and scored 12 runs on seven hits, five walks, and three hit batters.

The Titans scraped two runs back in the bottom half of the inning with an RBI double by Hunter Armstrong and a bases loaded hit by pitch to Jamason Sherrow to make it 12-9.

But as soon as Mercer scored its two, West answered right back in the top of the fourth with five more runs on six hits to put the game out of reach 17-9.

West scored one more in the top of the fifth on an another RBI single by Landry Byrd, then put three more on the board in the top of the sixth. Mercer County couldn’t answer back and the game ended in the sixth inning by way of a 10 run rule, 21-9.

It was West Jessamine’s 10th consecutive win against Mercer County, a streak that dates back almost a year to the day of the game — April 10, 2014 was the Titans last win over their district rival.

However, Shartzer says there’s no reason for the Titans to hang their heads because there’s still a lot of baseball left.

“We’re looking for the best combination (of players) we can find, to find an order in a strategic way for what they do well,” Shartzer says. “But ya know, it’ll come along. Baseball’s a streaky game and hopefully we’ll get hot soon.”

Mercer County doesn’t get much of a break. The Titans are off Friday before traveling to Boyle County Saturday to take on the red-hot Rebels at 10:30 Saturday morning.