Boyle wins third straight district baseball title, takes aim at regional

Published 2:45 pm Friday, May 24, 2024

A slew of seniors has started something big at Boyle County. Now they want to finish it.

The Rebels won their third consecutive 45th District baseball championship Tuesday night, blanking Garrard County 6-0 in the district tournament final at Lincoln County.

It’s a significant achievement for the team’s 10 seniors, but coach Adam Blair said they want something more.

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“Of course, this is awesome. We want to play our best and win (district). We want to do it every year, obviously,” Blair said. “But the next step, these seniors have yet to win that region title and I know that’s what their goal is, and that’s what we want for them. I know they’re working, and they’re not going to be satisfied with this.”

Boyle (24-11) is taking aim at the 12th Region championship, and the Rebels will be among the contenders for the title in the regional tournament, which begins Monday at Wayne County.

“It’s going to take all of our pitching staff, it’s going to take everybody in the lineup, one through nine,” said Keenan Stewart, one of two Boyle seniors who homered Tuesday. “And we definitely have a good shot at it, just as much as anybody else.”

The Rebels scored 22 runs in their two district tournament games, and they handed Garrard (22-10) its first shutout loss of the season in the title game.

Brayden West, another senior, pitched a complete game for Boyle even after he said he started the game at less than his best.

“Warming up, I felt a little bit tired and, honestly, I didn’t have the highest confidence, but I came in the first inning with 11 pitches and that was the beginning,” West said. “I got my confidence right there and I started grooving through all the innings.”

West scattered seven hits and struck out five batters as he kept a dangerous Garrard lineup in check.

“You just can’t miss pitches against them. They’re all disciplined hitters,” he said. “If you miss pitches against them, they will make you regret it and they will find ways to get on base.”

“Brayden did a great job on the bump for us, our defense played great behind him and I thought our hitters got out there early and made some things happen to get us feeling more comfortable,” Blair said.

Stewart, the tournament’s most valuable player, hit a two-run homer in the third inning and Sage Dawson did likewise in the seventh. Dawson also drove in a run in the Rebels’ two-run first inning.

“The past two games we’ve been hitting the ball a little better, much better than we were in the middle of the season. And I think we’re a lot more confident going into these games,” Stewart said.

Boyle had only eight home runs in the regular season but had three in two games this week.

The Rebels defeated Danville 16-6 in their semifinal, while the Golden Lions beat Lincoln County 4-1.

Garrard coach Tee Ellis said the Lions couldn’t get the timely hits they needed to generate some offense against Boyle.

“Nothing really went right. There were a lot of moments we didn’t take advantage of,” he said.

However, he said he believes the Lions will maintain their confidence going into the regional.

“We don’t let one game define us. We try to be competitive every game, so we’ll be competing and we’ll figure it out,” Ellis said.

Garrard made the finals last year but is seeking its first regional title, while Boyle will bid for its first title since 2018.

“They’re happy and blessed to have this, but I also know they’re going to be ready and focused,” Blair said. “We have that opportunity next week to do something that we haven’t done in a few years.

“They’re writing their story right now, and it’s fun watching.”