By DOUG EADS, CJ Correspondent
With a win yesterday afternoon over Somerset, the Pulaski County Maroons would have basically had a strangle hold on the top seed for next month’s 47th District.
And, Maroon pitcher Aaron Smith certainly pitched well enough to give his club a regular season sweep over the Briar Jumpers, throwing a master piece against Phil Grundy’s club.
However, Somerset’s Charlie Dishman pitched even better in Monday’s second encounter of the year between these two rivals, evening the season series between the two at one win apiece.
Dishman fanned 12 PC hitters in the contest, while allowing the Maroons just four hits, helping Somerset avenge an earlier loss to Pulaski County, with a 2-1 victory in a classic pitcher’s duel.
“We still didn’t swing the bats today like we wanted to, but (Aaron) Smith threw the ball great,” stated a very happy Phil Grundy after the game.
“They hit Charlie a little bit today because he kept getting behind in the count,” added the SHS coach, who saw his team move to 3-2 in district play with the win. “Fortunately for us, we got just enough hits to win. And, Pulaski made some outstanding plays defensively today that kept us off the board a couple of times. We played really well over the weekend and we were hoping to bring some of that momentum into today’s game, and we did just enough to pick up the win.”
It was the Briar Jumpers that grabbed the lead early on in Monday’s affair, by plating a single run off of Smith in the top half of the second inning.
Bryson Jones led things off with a double, and he would eventually come home on an RBI groundout off the bat of Will Hislope, giving Somerset a 1-0 lead.
The only other hit Smith allowed to Somerset on the day was another double — this one coming from Logan Ramsey, who doubled off of the PC pitcher in the third inning that drove in Jones who had walked just ahead of him.
That was it for Smith — the PC junior allowed the Jumpers just the two hits on the day while striking out five and walking two in his seven innings of work, but thanks to Dishman, it wouldn’t be enough to equate to a PC victory on this particular day.
“What I told our team after the game today was that we were able to get guys on base, but we just couldn’t come up with that one big hit,” lamented PC coach Danny Masten, who saw his club fall to 9-8 on the year and into a tie with Somerset in the district standings with a 3-2 mark.
“That was really the difference in tonight’s game — they got the big hit there in the fourth inning that pushed a run across to take a 2-1 lead, and they made that stand up for the rest of the way,” pointed out Masten.
Pulaski had its chances on the day against Dishman as the junior pitcher walked six hitters and allowed the Maroons four hits, but the only run of the day for PC came on a wild pitch.
Kyle Payton struck out for what would have been the third out of the second inning, but the ball went all the way to the backstop for a wild pitch, allowing PC’s Dustin Vaught to score on the play knotting things up at 1-1.
The score remained that way until Ramsey’s run-scoring double in the fourth frame that scored what would be the final run of the day, giving the Jumpers the 2-1 victory.
Somerset meanwhile had its chances as well, but the Maroons made some spectacular plays behind Smith to hold the deficit to just one run.
In the top of the sixth inning, Somerset’s Jacob Pelston led off by working Smith for one of his two walks on the day.
After Addison Thompson’s sacrifice bunt moved Pelston to second base, Dishman came up with a chance to help himself, and it appeared that he did just that.
The Somerset pitcher hit a monster shot to deep center field that looked like it would go for at least a double.
However, PC’s Henry Lorman leaped into the air and picked the ball off just before he crashed into the wall, on a play that very well could go down as the top defensive play of the season for the Maroons.
Lorman — after that catch — threw a strike to second base to pick Pelston off the bag for an inning-ending double play.
Still, Dishman would have the last laugh, as he fanned Eric Jones for the second out of the seventh inning, and then retired Dustin Vaught on a groundout to end the game, improving the Jumpers to 14-8 on the year.
The Briar Jumpers will return to action today on the road at Richmond Model, while PC will be off until Thursday afternoon, when the Maroons will host Casey County in their final district game of the regular season.
SHS — 0 1 0 1 0 0 0 — 2 2 0
PC — 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 — 1 4 0
DOUBLES — (SHS) Jones, Ramsey. (PC) Denney.
RBI — (SHS) Ramsey, Hislope.
WP — Dishman
LP — Smith