By DOUG EADS, CJ Correspondent
For much of Saturday afternoon, there wasn’t a whole lot of joy in the Somerset dugout, as the homestanding Briar Jumpers were trailing Boyle County 4-0 after only two innings of play.
Phil Grundy’s club eventually fell behind the Rebels by a count of 5-0, but Somerset showed some big-time resiliency in the face of adversity.
Thanks to a three-run rally fueled by Will Lange’s two-run single in the home half of the seventh inning, and six innings of outstanding relief by Addison Thompson, Grundy and crew rallied back from the dead to post a hard-fought, 6-5 victory over Boyle County in nine innings.
“We’re going to get better as we go,” stated Grundy, after the Jumpers moved to 2-0 on the young season.
“This was Charlie’s (Dishman) first outing — we made two errors at third base that cost us two runs — and we had a couple of misplayed balls in the outfield,” continued the SHS skipper. “That’s because we’ve not had a lot of reps out here, because we’ve just had some horrible weather. We faced good pitching today — those were two of the top pitchers in the region (Casey Whittle and Micah Miniard) that Boyle County threw at us. We battled and battled and stayed with it.”
Early on, Boyle County took complete control in this one, taking advantage of a pair of costly Somerset errors and some wildness from Charlie Dishman.
Boyle County took a 4-0 lead by batting around off of Dishman in the top of the second inning.
The Rebels scored those four runs thanks to a pair of Jumper errors and three walks from the Somerset pitching ace.
Dishman only went three innings in giving up four runs — all of which were unearned.
Addison Thompson meanwhile came on in relief of Dishman in the top of the fourth inning, and threw six innings of outstanding baseball for Somerset.
The only run Thompson allowed came in the fifth frame, when Conner Blevins led things off for the Rebels with a double, and he would later come home on the strength of a double from Addison Coffey.
That run however would be the only run to dent the plate off of Thompson, who picked up the win in relief for Somerset, throwing six innings of four-hit baseball while fanning six and walking none.
“Addison Thompson held us in this game today,” stated Grundy. “We were down 5-0 and things were kind of snowballing on us, and Addison came in there and just put the brakes on.”
“Addison is really the team leader and he’s a sparkplug for this group and they feed off of him,” remarked Grundy. “He’s got a ton of baseball knowledge and he comes from a baseball family and he’s a winner. He’s constantly walking up and down the dugout trying to get the guys pumped up, and our team feeds off of that.”
Despite the boost Thompson was giving Somerset on the mound in relief of Dishman, the simple fact was the Jumpers still trailed Boyle County and starter Casey Whittle by a 5-0 margin heading into the home half of the fifth inning.
That however is when Somerset finally got on track at the plate.
The Jumpers plated a pair of runs in the fifth inning, thanks to a leadoff double from Will Hislope.
He would later come home with the first run of the day for Somerset thanks to an RBI single from Dishman, that trimmed the deficit to 5-1.
An RBI groundout from Byrson Jones made it 5-2 in favor of Boyle County, and that’s the way the score stood heading into the bottom of the seventh.
Reliever Micah Miniard was only one out away from nailing down a victory for the Rebels, but Somerset would scratch out three runs with two out to knot this one up at 5-5.
Thompson led things off by getting hit by a pitch, and Jacob Pelston followed him with a single.
With runners at first and second and nobody out, Miniard fanned Dishman for the first out and retired Jones on a grounder for the second out, with runners moving up to second and third.
However, that’s when Will Lange came up with arguably the biggest hit of the day for Somerset.
Lange blooped a single to shallow right field driving in a pair of runs, to cut the deficit to 5-4.
Lange would later score the tying run, when Heath Ehrsam hit a ground ball to shortstop, but Brett Jones’ throw to first was high for an error, allowing Lange to score on the play all the way from second base, tying things up at 5-5.
Meanwhile, Thompson retired the side in order in the eighth and ninth frames giving his club a chance for the win, while setting up Bryson Jones for some late-inning heroics.
The Somerset catcher led off the ninth inning with a double off of reliever Addison Coffey, and he would come home with the game-winner, thanks to a pair of wild pitches from the Boyle County reliever.
“Baseball is a very humbling sport, and if you let one at bat ruin your day, then you’re going to have a lot of bad days,” pointed out Grundy.
“Hopefully, we’ll learn from this game,” added the SHS coach. “These kids are fun to coach and they work hard, and as a coach, that’s all you can ask for.”
The Jumpers are scheduled to return to action today on the road at Corbin.
Somerset will also have road games this week at Clay County and Glasgow, before returning home to Charlie Taylor Field on Friday evening at 6 p.m. to host Harlan County.
BC — 5 5 3
SHS — 6 12 4
DOUBLES — (BC) Coffey, Blevins. (SHS) Jones, Hislope.
RBI — (BC) Jones, Coffey. (SHS) Lange 2, Dishman, Jones.
WP — Thompson
LP — Coffey