By STEVE CORNELIUS, CJ Sports Editor
After giving up two runs to Rockcastle County High School in the opening half of the first inning, the Pulaski County High School baseball team looked as if they might be in trouble in this pivotal District 47 match-up.
However, the Maroons’ offense responded with two runs of their own in the home half of the first inning to square the game at 2-2.
Over the next six innings, Aaron Smith dominated the Rockets, on the pitching mound, and the Pulaski offense put together some timely hits in a 5-2 win over Rockcastle County (6-9, 2-2).
“Those two runs we scored in the first inning were big,” Pulaski coach Danny Masten said. “Earlier in the season we got in holes and never got out, but those two runs, in the first, squared things up. I think that was the biggest turnaround in the game — even though it was just the first inning.”
Despite giving up two runs – one earned run – in the opening frame, Aaron Smith pitched a stellar game. Smith struck out 12 Rocket batters and made 3 unassisted putouts, to account for nearly 75 percent of the Maroons’ defense.
“Aaron (Smith) is our ‘horse’ that we ride out there,” Masten said jokingly. “With a chance to go 3-0 in the district, we had to run him out there today and get this win. We play with a different level of confidence when Aaron Smith is on the mound. “
Down 2-0 in their first at bat, Pulaski scored their two runs in the home half of the first off a Rockets’ throwing error to plate Kyle Payton, and Devin Vaught singled down the third base line to score Jackson Mobley – courtesy running for Smith.
Pulaski would put single run scores in the third, fifth and sixth innings. In the third, Smith tripled to the right center gap to plate Payton. In the fifth, Payton scored on a Rockets’ passed ball. Then in the sixth, Jacob Clark doubled to the right center wall to score Cody Johnson.
Offensively, the Maroons were led by Smith, who went 2-for-2 at the plate with an RBI. Payton went 2-for-2, drove in a run and scored two runs.
Pulaski (6-10, 3-0) hosted Southwestern High School last night in the Randy Elmore Memorial, and will play two more games at 10 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. today.
RC 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 – 2 5 2
PC 2 0 1 0 1 1 X – 5 9 2
2B – Clark
3B – Smith
RBI – Vaught, Smith, Clark
WP – Smith (PC)
LP – Jones (RC)