Somerset made an early statement in their cross-town match-up against Southwestern with a four-run first inning that included homers by John Cole and Kenny Hughes en route to a Briar Jumper 10-0 six-inning victory at the Reservation on Tuesday.

With a 3-2 count, John Cole lead the game off with a solo homer to left field. Then four batters later, Kenny Hughes sent hit a two-run homer to right field to put the Jumpers up 4-0.

“John Cole’s full-count homer to lead the game off was a big boost for us,” Somerset coach Phil Grundy said. “John has been a little bit weak because of his sickness, but he is a battler and he led us off the way we needed.”

“Kenny Hughes is capable of hitting 15 or 20 homers in a year, because he is that strong and that good of hitter,” Grundy added. “He has been slow coming back from injuries and just needs to see a lot of pitches. I felt like if he started playing a lot of games in a row, he would start getting some big hits.”

Not only did Hughes lead the Jumpers off in the first inning with a homer, but he ended the game early in the sixth inning with a two-run homer that put the score at 10-0.

“I had surgery after football season and after I came back it took me awhile to get comfortable swinging again,” Hughes said. “ I went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts against Danville (on Thursday) and then to come back and hit like this is pretty big.”

Somerset sophomore pitcher Scott Spears kept the Southwestern bats at bay as he only allowed three Warrior hits in a shutout effort.

“Scott (Spears) has had a great year on the mound,” Grundy commented. “His record is now 7-1, which is the best on the team. He is probably leading the district and maybe the region in wins. Scott has picked up wins against Butler, Danville and, now, Southwestern. So, he has had some really key match-ups we needed him to step up and he did.”

The Warriors only scoring threat came in the fourth inning when Spears loaded the bases with two walks and one hit-by-pitch, and only one out. But a ‘6-4-3’ double play executed by Scott Moody and John Cole ended the inning. Cole would make an unassisted double play in the next inning.

“We had several opportunities to score in the past week with men on bases and not been able to get the key hits,” Southwestern coach Rod McAninch said. “Yeah, we did not get the key hits tonight, but the truth of the matter is that we were facing a quality team in Somerset.”

“You have to give (Somerset) all the credit for this win and I feel like this is the strongest Somerset team I have seen since I have been coaching,” McAninch added.

After Cole’s homer in the first, Chris Fitzpatrick scored off an Warrior wild pitch. Adam Wallen reached first base on a walk and was sent home on Hughes’ first of two homers.

The Jumpers added another run in the fourth inning when Jeremy Toohey hit a sacrifice fly to score Otis Manning, who was courtesy running for Chase Hall.

The Jumpers struck again in the fifth inning when Scott Moody scored off a wild pitch.

Somerset scored their final four runs in the sixth inning. Moody hit a sacrifice to right field to bring home John Cole. Wallen singled to left field to score Chris Fitzpatrick. And then Hughes’ second home run drove in Wallen.

Hughes went 2-for-3 with four RBIs and two runs scored. John Cole went 3-for-4 with an RBI, a stolen base and two runs scored. The Jumpers had nine hits for the game.

“All our batters are capable of hitting it hard,” Grundy said. “It is getting to the point where there confidence is up. We had some good swings last night (against Boyle County), but we took too many pitches. Tonight, we were more aggressive in the count, hitting fastballs early in the count and recognizing off-speed pitches.”

“I think every time we go onto the field our guys expect to win,” Grundy added.

Southwestern’s three hits came from Eric Rice, Josh Sadler and Eric Wright.

Somerset (18-8) will travel to West Jessamine on Friday, May 18, while Southwestern (11-18) will travel to Danville on Thursday, May 17.

Southwestern won the junior varsity game 5-1.

SHS 4 0 0 1 1 4 x — 10 9 1

SW 0 0 0 0 0 0 x — 0 3 4

2B — Fitzpatrick, Cole, Moody. HR — Cole, Hughes 2. RBI — Hughes 4, Cole, Toohey, Moody, Wallen. WP — Spears. LP — Edwards.

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