Varner tosses 1-hitter as Green Dragons advance with win over Middlesboro

Published 5:54 pm Monday, April 1, 2024

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Four innings with no run support was no problem for Harlan sophomore Baylor Varner in the quarterfinals of the 13th Region All “A” Classic at Middlesboro.

Varner just putting up zeroes until his offense caught up and the Jackets moved on with a 6-0 victory. Varner struck out 12 and walked only one.

Donovan Montanaro, Varner Chris Rouse, Brody Owens and Jake Brewer had one hit each for the 5-1 Dragons.

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‘Baylor was dominant on the mound tonight.  He is locating well and did a great job mixing up his pitches.  He’s just a fierce competitor.  I’m so proud of his effort and leadership,” Harlan coach Lee Freyer said. “Brody Owens did a really good job calling the game behind the plate. When he and Baylor get on the same page like they were tonight, they are a pretty good combination.”

Harlan broke open a scoreless game with three runs in the fifth inning. Owens led off with a single and moved to third on an error. Brewer brought in the first run when he reached on an error on a bunt. Brewer scored on a wild pitch for a 2-0 lead. Varner singled, then moved to second on Montanaro’s hit and scored on a passed ball.

Brewer singled to begin the seventh, then Varner walked and Montanaro was hit by a pitch. Eli Freyer’s sacrifice fly pushed in a run. Chris Rouse brought in the fifth run with a ground out. Montanaro scored on a wild pitch.

“This bunch played seven innings of error free baseball.  We made some really tough plays,” Freyer said. “Jake Brewer made a great diving catch on a bunt and Eli stepped up and made a great play behind third on a fly ball. With the sun being where it is at Middlesboro, that was a really difficult play.  We’ve talked about execution and how pivotal that can be in any game. Tonight we executed well and got the win.

“Offensively we just kept competing.  We got in some favorable counts and got some better pitches to hit after seeing (Case) Bayless a few times through the lineup. Jake provided us with a spark with his squeeze in the fifth. That execution got us rolling. “

Case Bayless gave up three runs (two earned) on four hits in five innings on the mound for Middlesboro, with nine strikeouts and two walks. Kam Wilson allowed three runs on one hit with four strikeouts and two walks in two innings.

Wilson had the only hit for the Jackets.

Lady Dragons win their district opener with rout at Bell County

The visiting Harlan Lady Dragons pounded out 19 hits on the way to a 20-8 win at Bell County.

Ella Lisenbee led Harlan with four hits on two singles, one double and one triple. Addison Jackson drove in five runs with two triples and a single. Jordyn Smith and Amy Roman each added a single and double. Ella Farley and Ava Nunez each added two singles. Abbi Fields had a double. Rhileigh Estes and Annie Hoskins added one single.

Smith gave up three runs on five hits in 2 1/3 innings. Mallory McNiel allowed five runs (four earned) on seven hits in 2 /13 innings.

Adyson Scott led the Bell offense with a triple and two singles. Addison Lucas had a double and single. Jayda Boateng and Kenley Foster added two singles each. Alexus Lawson, Camdyn Thomas, Emily Rose and Addison Maiden added one single each.

Thomas started in the circle for Bell, giving up nine runs (five earned) on nine hits with two strikeouts and four walks in 3 2/3  innings. Scott allowed 11 runs (seven earned) on nine hits with two strikeouts and four walks in 1 1/3 innings.

Harlan (3-5) plays at Letcher Central on Friday. The 2-6 Lady Cats play Corbin on Wednesday in the 2A Classic.


Harlan fell 11-5 to visiting Union, Va., on Friday.

Jackson led the Lady Dragons with a double and two singles. Farley singled twice. Smith and Lisenbee each added doubles. Nunez and Roman contributed singles.

McNiel gave up five runs on six hits in 3 1/3 innings with one strikeout and three walks to suffer the loss. Smith allowed six runs on nine hits in 4 2/3 innings, with one strikeout and one walk.