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Jackets advance on Murray’s no-hitter

The Williamsburg Yellow Jackets cruised to a 10-0 win over the visiting Harlan Green Dragons on Tuesday to advance to the finals of the 13th Region All “A” Classic.

It was the second straight game in which the Yellow Jackets have won by the 10-run rule. Williamsburg was able to defeat the Green Dragons and the Pineville Mountains Lions in just five innings over the past two nights. Coach Bryan Hopkins said the key to his team’s success in the first two rounds of the tournament has been defense.

“Our defense was pretty tight tonight. We only had one recorded error and that was on a pick-off to first. We took care of business on defense tonight,” said Hopkins. “That is what we talk about — playing error-free baseball. When you do that you can be a pretty competitive, tough team.”

Part of that stellar defense was the pitching performance from Williamsburg’s Justin Murray. The senior went the distance for the Yellow Jackets, allowing no hits and no earned runs while striking out nine batters.

“Murray pitched a good game for us. He pitched a no-hitter,” said Hopkins. “He walked a couple of batters early, but once he got settled in, he did a real good job.”

The Yellow Jackets got things going at the plate in the first inning, taking a 1-0 lead after one, and scored in each inning thereafter. Williamsburg was up 8-0 after three innings, and scored one run in each the fourth and fifth innings to end the game.

The Yellow Jackets had eight hits on the night, led by Clay Kysar with a triple, a double and one run batted in. Jacob Harrison, Zach Caddell and Mason Manning each had one double apiece, while Sydney Bowen had two singles and Hunter Brown added one. Harrison drove in three runs, Manning drove in two and Bowen had one RBI.

With the win, Williamsburg advanced to the finals of the 13th Region All “A” Classic. The Jackets will play the winner of the Barbourville-Middleboro game on Thursday to see who will represent the 13th Region in the state tournament.

Hopkins said that his team will have to continue their error-free baseball on Thursday in order to advance.

“The most important thing to do is put the play in front of you away. When defense is playing error-free, it really helps the offense in a big way,” said Hopkins. “We have to keep doing what we’re doing. If we do that you never know what can happen.”

“We weren’t able to get anything going offensively,” Harlan coach Cory Estep said. “We came out a little flat and were never able to recover from it. They made some good plays on a couple of hard hit balls that we had and it took the life out of us. Defensively, we booted the ball around a little bit last night and gave up too much free baseball. We will recover and fix the mistakes that were made. It is still early and just like all the other teams in the region we lack experience on the field.”

Harlan (2-1) will return to action Monday at Knott Central.

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Harlan 000 00x – 0 0 6

Williamsburg 134 11 – 10 6 1

Varner, Robinson (3) and Knuckles; Murray and Harrison. WP — Murray. LP — Varner.