Harlan County double dips Middlesboro to earn top seed

Published 5:08 pm Monday, May 1, 2023

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By Paul Lunsford

Contributing Writer

Harlan County completed 52nd District play with a perfect 6-0 record and claimed the top seed in the district tournament.

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Harlan County scored three runs in the opening inning and added five more in the third inning last  Tuesday as the Bears rolled to a 12-2 win.

It was the first regular-season district sweep for HC since the 2015 campaign.

Sophomore right-hander Alex Creech (3-3) scattered six hits with seven strikeouts and four walks for the Bears.

Junior left-hander Case Bayless suffered the loss for Middlesboro. Kam Wilson and Brady Carroll also saw action on the mound.

Creech powered the Black Bears with a double and two singles. Jonah Swanner and Brayden Blakley each added two singles, while Braydon Burton and Carter Howard each doubled. Will Cassim,

Tristan Cooper and Isaac Kelly each singled.

Carroll, a senior, led the Jackets with a double and single. Case Bayless, Colt Bayless, Connor Mason and Conner Winterberger all singled once.

The Yellow Jackets lead the all-time series at 21-17 against Harlan County.

Harlan County (13-9) hosts Letcher Central on Monday and visits Knox Central on Tuesday.

The Bears will travel to Barbourville on Friday.

Middlesboro (9-8 overall, 3-3 district) travels to Barbourville on Tuesday and visits Clay County on Friday.

Bears top Jackets in Monday clash

Harlan County took a 3-2 edge after one inning but pushed across two runs each in the fifth and sixth innings in a 7-2 win over Middlesboro last Monday.

Tristan Cooper pitched a three-hitter for the Black Bears, including seven strikeouts and four walks in the complete game.

Winterberger, a senior left-hander, went the distance for the Yellow Jackets. He recorded eight strikeouts and five walks.

Jonah Swanner, Cooper, Will Cassim, Alex Creech, Isaac Kelly and Samuel Henson had one single each for HC.

Winterberger homered to led the Middlesboro offense. Colt Bayless and Kam Wilson each added a single.