Admirals outlast Garrard County in extra innings

By JOE MATHIS

Contributing Writer

LANCASTER — What a difference 24 hours can make.

One day after Danville trounced Garrard County 10-0 in five innings, the two teams were at it again for the second of their 45th district games.

Only this time, it was a pitchers duel.

After Garrard County senior Ethan Lamb set down Danville in order to begin the game and Danville’s Ethan Wood danced around danger in the first, Danville used a base running trick to score the game’s first run in the top of the second.

It all started when Preston Barnes, Bryson Young and Jaden Larmour hit three straight, one out singles. After a ground out, Danville head coach Paul Morse decided to take a chance on the base paths.

“We were just trying to find any way we could to get runs on the board. We had to take chances that you might not usually take,” Morse said.

That chance Morse took ended up working, putting the first run of the game on the scoreboard.

Larmour took a huge lead off of second base, which drew a pick-off throw from Lamb. As soon as Lamb threw it to second, Young broke from third base and slid in at home just ahead of the tag. Danville’s other two base runners also moved up a base, resulting in a triple steal and a 1-0 Danville lead.

From there, Lamb and Wood would continue to mow down the opposing teams hitters.

That lasted until the bottom of the third, when Garrard County made a one-out walk pay off.

Anthony Justus drew a four-pitch walk, then two batters later, Colin Carver singled through the right side of the infield on a 2-2 pitch with two outs, scoring Justus and knotting the game up at one.

Danville, however, would answer right back with a run of its own in the fourth inning on the game’s strangest play.

Young led off Danville’s half of the fourth with a double, then Larmour tried to lay down a sacrifice bunt — a bunt that was so good it resulted in an infield single for Larmour and moved Young to third.

Then Hunter Baxter hit a pop up in foul territory — only about 20 feet from home plate — which Garrard catcher Tanner McGuffey caught, then threw back to first base as the Golden Lions tried to turn a double play with Larmour racing back to the bag.

Though Larmour was ruled safe, Young, just like he did in the second inning, broke for home and, again, slid in ahead of McGuffey’s tag giving Danville a 2-1 lead and giving Baxter something you don’t see everyday: a sacrifice fly to the catcher.

From there, it was the Wood and Lamb show — matching each other pitch for pitch as they whittled their way through the opposing lineups up until the bottom of the sixth when Garrard County threatened to blow the game open.

Connor Isaccs ripped a double to left field to begin the frame, followed by a Brady Davis walk and a Lamb bunt single to load the bases with nobody out. Wood answered back, though, striking out two more and ending the danger with a popup on the infield as the Golden Lions let the threat fall by the wayside.

“Leaving runners on base is something we’ve battled all year,” Garrard County head coach CJ Lynn said. “We’ve just got to bulldog it and fight and battle to get those runs in.”

 

Garrard did just that in the bottom of the seventh.

Going against new Danville pitcher Jacob Crank, Garrard County got the first two men on base with a walk and a hit by pitch. After a ground out, it was Isaacs who came up big for the Golden Lions again, this time singling to left to score courtesy runner JT Fitzpatrick and tie the game at two.

Crank would then buckle down to get Brady Davis swinging and Lamb on a pop up to send it into extra innings and put the game in the hands of both bullpens.

After a quiet eighth inning where new Garrard pitcher Ashton Smith sat Danville down in order and Crank worked around a one out walk, Danville finally broke through in a big way in the top of the ninth.

Austin Mott took a pitch between the numbers to lead off the top of the ninth, then Brennan Washington walked. Two batters later, with two outs, Cayden Shaver jumped on a first pitch fastball that he narrowly kept fair over the third base bag, scoring Mott and Washington to give Danville a 4-2 lead.

Then one batter and three pitches later, Preston Barnes deposited a 1-1 fastball deep into left center field for a two-run home run to give Danville a 6-2 lead.

“I was on them from the first inning on because we had guys on and just couldn’t get that hit,” Morse said. “I challenged them and asked them ‘Who is going to get that hit for us?’ I was proud of Cayden Shaver and then Preston (Barnes) of those hits, it just took a lot longer for us than we’d like.”

Danville needed all the runs they could get because Garrard wasn’t done yet either.

A Colin Carver double began the bottom half of the ninth, then an Isaac Lyons single and another Isaccs double — his third hit of the game — made it 6-3.

Davis then walked to load the bases once more but Crank would retire the next two hitters, including a strikeout and an RBI ground out by Trevor Jones which made it 6-4. Crank then struck out the next hitter to end the game and seal the Admirals’ 6-4 win.

And even though his team lost, Lynn said he was proud of his team’s heart and battle, especially from his starting pitcher.

“We couldn’t have asked for a better outing from Ethan Lamb,” said Lynn of his senior pitcher, who went seven innings, giving up two earned runs and striking out six. “He kept them off balance, he threw everything for strikes and that’s what we’ve preached all year.”

For Danville, Wood went six innings, giving up three hits and struck out 12. Crank got the win, going the final three innings, giving up three runs and striking out five.

Danville and Garrard aren’t done playing each other yet, either. The Admirals win earned them the No. 2 seed outright in the upcoming 45th district tournament and with Garrard County earning the No. 3 seed, the two teams will play each other in the first round in a win or go home game. But with that still weeks away, Morse says he still wants to see improvement from his 15-4 Admirals.

“We’ve got to get better individually,” Morse said. “Be it on the mound, not falling behind in the count. Be it defensively, knowing where you’re moving and where you’re supposed to be. But we’re a young team, we started five freshman again and so for them that’s what it’s about.”

Danville is back in action this weekend at the Louisville Invitational Tournament while Garrard County has six days off before they play again on Wednesday against Model.