By DOUG EADS, CJ Correspondent
After an eight-run explosion in the home half of the third inning on Friday afternoon, about the only suspense left for the Pulaski County Maroons was to see if senior pitcher Tyler Hail was going to be able to notch a perfect game against visiting Monticello.
Hail retired the first 11 Trojans he faced, before allowing a two-out walk to Monticello’s Kyle Ashley in the top half of the fourth inning.
The only other Monticello hitter to reach base off of Hail was Trajan Smith, who was hit by a pitch by Hail in the top of the fifth.
Other than those two miscues by the Maroons starter, this one was all PC.
Aaron Smith drove in three runs, while Taylor Gover, Eric Jones, and Tyler Wesley all had two RBI’s each, on a day when Pulaski County rolled to a season-opening, 12-0 victory over the Trojans.
Not a bad opening day performance indeed — isn’t that right coach Danny Masten?
“We were looking for a start like this out of the gate,” pointed out Masten, after his team moved to 1-0 on the year with the win.
“We took advantage of the opportunities we were given today, and then Tyler (Hail) went out and threw a great game,” continued the PC coach. “That’s a pretty impressive feat, to come out of the gate and throw a no-hitter in your season opener. Tyler went out today and made them (Monticello) put the ball in play, and then we made the plays behind him.”
Pulaski County got rolling early off of Monticello’s starter and loser Joseph Barrier.
Taylor Gover led off the bottom of the first inning with a single off of Barrier, and he would later come home thanks to an RBI double off the bat of Eric Jones.
PC added another run in the first, and tallied a third run in the bottom half of the second, before blowing this game wide open by tacking on eight more runs in the home half of the third frame.
And, it was a total team effort by the Maroons in that decisive third inning.
Tyler Wesley got it started with a two-run double, but there would be much, much more to come from the Maroons.
Henry Lorman doubled in a run, Gover singled in another run, Jones walked with the bases loaded to plate another score, and Smith doubled in two more runs, blowing this game wide open, giving the Maroons a commanding, 11-0 lead through three innings of play.
“We have a lot of experience coming back this year, and we have a lot of varsity experience up and down our roster this year,” pointed out Masten.
“We really expect these guys to come out and perform like this for us this year every time we play, and they got some clutch hits out there today to drive in runs when the opportunities were presented to us,” added the PC coach. “I’m very proud of them with the way they performed today — they did everything that we asked them to do.”
Leading by that 11-0 score, PC tacked on one more run in the home half of the fourth inning, thanks to a pinch-hit RBI single off the bat of Kyle Payton.
Meanwhile, Hail came out in the top of the fifth and nailed down his no-hitter, by getting Barrier to ground out in a double play to end the game.
For the game, the PC senior threw five innings of no-hit baseball, striking out two and walking only one hitter, facing just two (17) hitters over the minimum in his five innings of work.
Not a bad season opener indeed.
“This was a really good way to open the season, and I don’t believe I’ve ever seen a pitcher throw a no-hitter on opening day,” stated Masten.
“Hopefully, we can build upon this performance,” Masten added.
The Maroons will return to action on Monday afternoon at North Laurel.
Pulaski County will return home this Thursday evening, as the Maroons will host Boyle County at 6 p.m. at PC Field.
MONTICELLO — 0 0 2
PULASKI CO. — 12 9 0
DOUBLES — (PC) Jones, Smith, Lorman.
RBI — (PC) Smith 3, Wesley 2, Jones 2, Gover 2, Lorman, Payton.
WP — Hail
LP — Barrier