|Thu, Mar 23, 2017 01:39 PM
|Wednesday, March 8, 2017 issue
LEXINGTON — Undone by early mistakes, the Lawrence County Bulldogs were unable to soar with the Eagles of Apollo High School in Wednesday’s Kentucky High School Athletic Association State Baseball Tournament action at Applebee’s Park.
The Eagles used timely hitting to score in each of the first three innings as they cruised to a 7-1 win over the Bulldogs, handcuffing Lawrence County with the crafty pitching of junior right-hander Ryne Mantooth.
“In the first and second innings, we made some mistakes and mishandled some things,” LCHS head coach Randy Keeton said. “We got the single to lead off by Eric in the first, but then missed a bunt, made an error in the bottom of the inning and they took advantage of it. I have to give them credit. We lost to the better team.”
Apollo drew first blood when Jeff Martin singled to lead off the bottom of the first, Jon Troutman reached on an error and Martin later scored from third on a passed ball.
In the second inning, the Eagles got back-to-back singles from catcher Steve Lee and first baseman Brian Richards, followed by an RBI single from third baseman Matt Head.
In the third, they scored two more when Mantooth got on with an infield single and then Lee slapped a run-scoring triple to right center to drive in courtesy runner Jordan Gray, and then courtesy runner James Williams stole home to make it 4-0.
“I don’t know if it was jitters or what, but we didn’t play well early, Steve didn’t throw like he has, and then they just got a few big hits,” said Keeton.
Apollo added two more runs in the bottom of the fifth on a double by Mantooth and a single by Richards to put the game pretty much beyond the Bulldogs’ reach.
In the top of the sixth, Lawrence County finally scored when Chris Pope reached on an error and took second when the throw went out of play, moved to third on a ground out by Blevins and scored on a ground out by Kyle Barnette.
But the Eagles tacked on their final run in the bottom of the sixth when freshman shortstop Jake Wells drilled a single to score Brandon Fogle.
Mantooth pitched six innings and gave up only three hits in recording the win. He struck out four and walked one. Blevins pitched four innings and gave up seven hits and four runs while striking out four and walking one batter intentionally. Kevin Workman pitched the final two innings for Lawrence County.
The Dawgs’ only three hits were all singles and came from Parker, Barnette and Workman.
“We had a great season, and I hope these kids can start to look back in a few hours at what they actually accomplished this year. I think we have a good chance to get back next year and we just need to appreciate what we did this year,” said Keeton.
With the loss, the Bulldogs finished their season at 29-10. Apollo improved to 29-12 and advanced to the semi-finals to take on top-ranked Paul Laurence Dunbar, a 5-0 winner over Webster County in the second game of Wednesday’s doubleheader.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 r h e
0 0 0 0 0 1 0 — 1 3 2
1 1 2 0 2 1 x — 7 11 3
WP: Mantooth (9-3); LP: Blevins (10-2); 3b: Lee; 2b: Best, Mantooth; SB: Williams; CS: Parker.