With just two and a half weeks remaining in the regular season, all of a sudden the Pulaski County Maroons are stringing together their most impressive stretch of the season, seemingly hitting their stride at the perfect time.
Take Tuesday’s game against North Laurel for instance.
The Jaguars rolled into PC Field on Tuesday facing a Maroon team in the midst of a four-game winning streak, and appeared to have this one sealed up, leading Danny Masten’s club by a 2-0 margin through five and a half innings of play.
However, as has been the case of late, Masten’s club refused to give in one inch.
PC rallied by scoring four runs in the home half of the sixth inning off of North Laurel’s Marcus Carson, and as a result it was Masten and crew running that winning streak to five wins in a row with a come from behind 4-2 victory over North Laurel.
“They threw what I would consider two of their best pitchers at us, and we struggled a little bit, because they kept changing speeds at us and they were bringing it pretty good,” stated a very happy Masten after his club’s win.
“They threw just enough off-speed stuff today to keep us off balance for the entire game,” added the PC coach. “We put the ball in play, but they made several nice plays and held us at bay for a long time.”
Early on, it was Austin Cornett and North Laurel’s Zach Hurley hooked up in a great pitcher’s duel, but neither would figure in the decision for their respective clubs.
The Jags finally broke through against Cornett by scratching out a run in the top half of the fifth frame, taking a 1-0 lead over Pulaski.
Marcus Carson — who tallied two of North’s five hits on the day — drove in the first run of the game with a two-out infield single, giving the Jaguars that one-run cushion.
In the top of the sixth inning with one out, the Jags doubled that lead as North’s Austin Thompson doubled to the gap in right center field driving in another run, giving the Jags a 2-0 lead at that juncture.
Carson meanwhile came on in relief of Hurley in the bottom half of the fifth inning, fanning the side, but the North Laurel pitcher ran into all kinds of problems in the home half of the sixth inning — all by his own doing.
Burton led off that decisive sixth frame by working Carson for a leadoff walk.
Carson then tried to pick off the PC pitcher off the bag at first, but threw the ball down the right field line for his first error of the frame, and Burton took advantage of that miscue advancing all the way to third base.
Jacob Denney followed Burton with a solid single, driving in the first run of the day for the Maroons, cutting the North Laurel lead to 2-1.
After a Taylor Gover walk that put runners at first and second with nobody out, Aaron Smith laid down a perfect bunt down the first base line.
Carson quickly jumped off the mound and tried to tag Smith running down the line but missed him. Carson then threw the ball wildly to first base on a bang-bang play, but the ball got away from the first baseman, allowing Denney to score the tying run on another throwing error by the North Laurel pitcher.
One out later, third baseman Eric Jones ended all the suspense in this one by crushing an 0-2 pitch from Carson to deep right center field, as the ball went all the way to the wall.
That two-run double scored both Gover and Smith, and just like that PC had a 4-2 lead over the Jags, coming all they way back from the dead.
And, that lead would be more than enough cushion for Burton.
The PC sophomore threw 1 2/3 innings of hitless relief taking over for Cornett, striking out three hitters, which included retiring the side in order in the top of the seventh to nail down a PC win.
“Blake Burton — our number nine hitter — came up there in the sixth inning and just had a great at bat,” pointed out Masten. “Then, ‘Gomer’ (Jacob Denney) came up and got the big hit, and then Taylor Gover, Aaron Smith, and Eric Jones all delivered there, so we had the guys coming up in that inning that we wanted at the plate in that situation.”
“Aaron got that bunt down to move the runners up, and then Eric got that big double to drive in the game winners,” added the PC coach. “They didn’t give up — that’s one thing we’ve tried to instill in these guys this year to never give up. We’ve battled all season long, and we’ve came back and won some games due to the fact that we continue to battle.”
With the win, the Maroons improved to 14-8 on the season and will put their five-game winning streak on the line tonight at PC Field.
The Maroons will host the West Jessamine Colts this evening beginning at 6 p.m.
NL — 0 0 0 0 1 1 0 — 2 5 2
PC — 0 0 0 0 0 4 X — 4 3 1
DOUBLES — (NL) Thompson. (SW) Jones.
RBI — (NL) Thompson, Carson. (PC) Jones 2, Denney.
WP — Burton
LP — Carson