Green Dragons overcome 10-run fifth inning to edge Middlesboro

Published 8:03 pm Monday, April 29, 2024

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Staff Report

Losing a 7-1 lead isn’t easy.

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Giving up 10 runs in an inning and still winning is even tougher.

The Harlan Green Dragons managed to accomplish both last Tuesday, rallying after Middlesboro exploded with a 10-run fifth to answer with six runs in the bottom of the sixth to win 13-11 and complete a three-game sweep of the visiting Yellow Jackets.

“It took a collective effort to pull this one out,” Harlan coach Lee Freyer said. “Middlesboro is one of the most well coached teams in the region.  They never gave up, even when we jumped out 7-1 they kept clawing.  When they took the lead 9-7, then 11-7 I told our boys that we needed to respond.  That we work too hard and that we were still in this game. And they did respond.”

Sophomore right-hander Jake Brewer restored order after the Dragons gave up 10 runs in the fifth inning, shutting out the Jackets over the final 2 1/3 innings, giving up online one hit.

Brewer also led the Dragons at the plate with a triple and single. Jared Moore drove in three runs on two singles. Chris Rouse added a double. Baylor Varner scored three runs and drove in two while adding a single. Brody Owens also had a single.

Moore started on the mound and gave up only one run on one hit over three innings with three strikeouts and three walks. Owens allowed three runs in one inning as he walked five and allowed one hit while striking out one. Aiden Johnson allowed seven runs on two hits with three walk-ins and two strikeouts in two-thirds of an inning.

“Jared Moore is starting to really see the ball well and had some big hits tonight,” Freyer said. “Jake Brewer came in the game on the mound and did his job.  He’s always calm and cool in the toughest of spots.  He closed the door for us tonight. He did a great job.  Also, Gunnar Snelling came in late in the game and earned the game ball in right field.  He’s such a great kid and hard worker. He made two phenomenal catches to seal the game for us in right field.  It was wonderful to see that.

“We talk a lot as a team about “it’s not how bad you want to win, but what you are willing to do to earn it.” Tonight we didn’t have our best stuff, but we grinded our way to a win.”

Malachi Coots pitched 5 1/3 innings for the Jackets, giving up 10 runs (five earned) on six hits with five strikeouts and six walks. Case Bayless allowed three unearned runs on two walks. Cayden Burchett allowed one hit and two walks while recording the final two outs.

Burchett had a huge day at the plate, driving in six runs with a triple and double. Coots drove in three runs with a double and single. Isaac Harris added one single.


Middlesboro       001   0(10)0      0     —     11. 5. 5

Harlan                  204   106   x     —     13. 7. 2

Coots, Case Bayless (6), Burchett (6) and Colt Bayless; Moore, Owens (4), Johnson (5)m Brewer (5) and Owens, Rouse (4). WP — Brewer (). LP — Case Bayless.

Varner dominates with 16 Ks on a no-hit night at Middlesboro

Already in his third season as a varsity baseball player, Harlan sophomore Baylor Varner has already enjoyed quite a few good nights on the mound for the Green Dragons. None, however, were quite as good as Baylor’s night last Monday at Middlesboro.

Varner pitched a no-hitter with 16 strikeouts and only one walk as the Green Dragons coasted to an 8-0 win. Varner walked Case Bayless with one out in the first inning, then retired 19 in a row, including picking Bayless off first base, before Malachi Coots reached on Harlan’s only error of the night with two outs in the seventh inning.

“Baylor was dominant tonight.  What else can you say?  He had command of all his pitches and looked extremely comfortable out there,” Harlan coach Lee Freyer said. “When he is locked in like that, he is very difficult to hit.  This county and this district is blessed with seeing some good pitchers this year.  There is zero doubt he is one of them.”

Luke Luttrell and Jared Moore led the Harlan offense as each recorded a double and single with Moore driving in two runs and Luttrell driving in one. Chris Rouse added an RBI double while Varner had a single and a sacrifice fly for the 11-6 Dragons.

Senior lefthander Kim Wilson gave up fiver runs (three earned) on four hits in five innings, with seven strikeouts and four walks for the 2-11 Jackets.  Ethan Johnson gave up three runs (two earned) on two hits in two innings, with two strikeouts and one walk.

The two teams play again on Tuesday at Harlan.


Harlan            120   020   3     —     8. 6. 1

Middlesboro 000   000   0     —     0. 0. 5

Varner and Owens; Wilson, Johnson (6) and Colt Bayless. WP — Varner (2-2). LP — Wilson