By JOE MATHIS
On Tuesday, Boyle County slowly edged away from Garrard County, scoring in four different innings to beat the Golden Lions 8-2 in the district opener.
During Wednesday’s game, Boyle County left no doubt early on who would win. The Rebels scored eight runs in the bottom half of the second to march past the Golden Lions 10-0 in six innings.
The game began innocently enough — a leadoff single by Boyle County’s Cameron Yates was the only base runner to reach for either team in the first.
Things drastically changed in the second.
Boyle County shortstop Jack Briese led off the top of the second with a hit by pitch. He then stole second — the Rebels would steal five bases total — and scored two batters later when Caleb Holderman bounced a double over the third base bag and down the left field line.
And then the flood gates opened as the next seven Boyle County hitters after Holderman all reached base. Holderman was followed by a Connor Samons single and an Eli Glasscock bunt single to load the bases with one out.
Yates would reach base a second time on an error, scoring Holderman and Samons, to make it a three-run Boyle lead. Luke Gaffney followed Yates with the Rebels third infield single of the inning, subsequently scoring Yates and making it 4-0.
And then one swing from Karson Thompson’s bat effectively put the game out of reach.
After seeing two balls sail outside the strike zone, Thompson feasted on a 2-0 fastball from Garrard pitcher Hudson Cornett that he deposited over the left field fence for a three-run home run. The blast was Thompson’s second home run of the season and extended the Boyle lead to 7-0.
“Karson pitched great but helped himself out there in the second inning,” Boyle coach Kyle Wynn said. “He got a pitch up and was able to drive it out.”
Boyle County still wasn’t done after Thompson’s home run.
The next hitter, Ethan Carter, reached on error and was brought home when Briese roped a double into left field to make it 8-0.
“I think the goal for us is, if we’re trying to do something by ourselves it’s not happening,” Wynn said. “We’ve talked a lot that our runs in big innings are because of little stuff. We’re getting hit by a pitch, get on base, maybe a sacrifice bunt and the offense takes off from there. That’s what happened in the second inning.”
By the time the top of the second ended, the Rebels sent 11 men to plate and scored eight runs on six hits, giving Thompson more than enough room to work his way through the Garrard County lineup.
And work his way through the lineup, he did.
Thompson began the game retiring the first seven Garrard hitters, striking out four of those first seven he faced. The Golden Lions first base runner didn’t come until one out in the bottom half of the third when Nathan Perkins was hit by a pitch. He didn’t stay on base long, as Thompson fanned the next two hitters to give him six strikeouts through the first three innings.
Though Thompson didn’t need any more run support, the Rebels still provided it.
Briese drove in his second run of the game in the top of the fourth, scoring Thompson on an RBI single to make it 9-0, then Boyle scored their 10th run in the top of the sixth when Yates reached second on a two base throwing error, moved to third on another error, then scored on a third error all while Gaffney was at the plate.
Thompson set down the Golden Lions in order in the bottom of the sixth to polish off Boyle’s run rule win, 10-0. He allowed only one hit, one walk, and struck out nine across those six innings.
The two wins over Garrard County are a good start for the Rebels in their district play, though they also know a challenge awaits them next week vs. crosstown rival Danville. Much like Boyle did with Garrard, the Admirals swept Lincoln County in their first two district games to improve their record to 16-1.
“It’s always good to get the first couple under your belt especially with how quick the games are playing back to back,” Wynn said. “It’s nice to get two because you could also easily drop two and be fighting out of a hole. It’s a good thing we’re in a good position here. We’ve got Whitley County Saturday and that’ll be a good test for us. Hopefully that’ll get us ready for Danville in what should be a pretty big series next week.”