Boyle offense ignites to spark district blitz
Published 1:22 pm Thursday, April 27, 2023
By MIKE MARSEE
The bats have come alive at Boyle County, and it couldn’t have happened at a better time.
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The Rebels had been looking for increased production on offense, and they found it on their way to clinching the No. 1 seed in the 45th District Tournament.
With one exception, the Rebels put up runs in bunches during their run of six district games over three weeks that concluded Wednesday with the completion of a two-game sweep of Lincoln County.
Boyle beat Lincoln 12-2 on Tuesday and 15-0 on Wednesday, cranking out 26 hits in the two games to finish district play with a 5-1 record and a plus-60 run differential.
“I think we’re starting to pick the bats up,” said Boyle shortstop Cameron Owens, who went 5 for 7 with five runs and six RBIs in the two wins over Lincoln. “We started slow with the bats, but we’re starting to pick it up now. Everybody’s starting to hit the ball and contribute.”
Most of Boyle’s biggest outbursts have come in district play. The Rebels have scored in double figures seven times in 21 games, and five of those were in district games.
They outscored Garrard County, Danville and Lincoln 75-15 and finished with a two-game lead in the standings that will determine seeds for the district tournament the week of May 15 at Garrard, where Boyle will face Lincoln again in the first round.
“It’s really important,” Owens said. “It sets us up good for the district (tournament).”
Boyle coach Adam Blair said getting the top seed was the first line on the Rebels’ list of goals for the season, though he said they can’t take advancement for granted regardless of the results this week.
“That’s the first goal to check off our list, but it doesn’t mean that you’re locked in to go to the championship game,” he said.
Boyle will take a four-game winning streak into its game Friday against Pulaski County. It has won five of its last six games with an average of 11.8 runs per game in those wins — its season average is 7.5 runs per game — and a team batting average that had risen to .301 entering Wednesday’s game.
“We’re getting a lot more swings in the cage now, and we’re getting used to the pitching now that the season’s gone on a little bit,” Owens said. “We’re seeing good pitching but we’re picking it up pretty well.”
Boyle (14-7, 5-1 district) used a big inning to win the first game with Lincoln (10-13, 1-5) and clinch the No. 1 seed.
The host Rebels scored nine runs in the fourth inning to take a 10-2 lead. They took advantage of four hits, including two-run singles by Cole Sims and Coleman Stewart, five walks, a hit batsman and two errors.
“I think we didn’t try to do too much,” Blair said. “Guys weren’t trying to swing at everything, they let walks happen, hit by pitches happen, all the freebies that they gave us we took advantage of and we had the big inning.”
That took the heat off Boyle, which fell behind 2-0 in the third inning thanks to a pair of errors.
Myers went the distance in the six-inning game, allowing no earned runs and four hits and striking out seven.
Owens went 3 for 4 with a double, a triple and two RBIs. Coleman Stewart and Brayson Claunch had two hits each and Myers drove in three runs.
The following day at Lincoln, Cole Sims and Bryan Moore combined on a four-hit shutout and Sims homered twice and drove in five runs to lead a 15-hit attack that included seven extra-base hits.
Sims hit a three-run homer in the fourth to give the Rebels a 7-0 lead and added a solo shot in the sixth before his teammates tacked on seven runs in the seventh. He also had a double and finished 3 for 4 with three runs and five RBIs, and he struck out 10 batters without a walk in five innings on the mound.
Stewart also had three hits and drove in two runs. Myers and Owens had two hits each, and Owens drove in four runs.
Moore pitched two scoreless innings with three strikeouts and no walks.
Leevi Warren had two of the four hits for Lincoln.