Coming into last night’s 47th District Baseball Tournament with a sub-par 13-16 record, the Pulaski County Maroons did exactly what they needed to do against Somerset in this win or go home encounter.

PC came out and took the action right at Somerset.

Pulaski’s lone senior, John Perkins, took Adam Wallen to deep center field for a two-run shot in the top of the first inning, giving the underdog Maroons a very quick, 2-0 lead.

However, Somerset, exemplifying the mental toughness of a very solid regional contender, showed what it was made of after getting into that two-run hole.

Corey Price took Perkins out of the ball yard in the bottom of the third frame, capping off a five-run rally, putting Phil Grundy’s club back on top in this one at 5-2.

And, as they say, that would be that.

Wallen gave PC six hits on the night, but only two over the course of the final four innings, as the Jumpers moved on to next week’s 12th Regional Tournament, with an 8-2 victory over Pulaski County.

“Anytime you’re facing a John Perkins, it’s going to be tough, but we’ve got a quality pitcher too,” said Grundy, in referring to the outing by Wallen.

“Adam made one mistake and John’s a good hitter and he hit it out,” Grundy added. “Adam didn’t have his best stuff tonight, but what makes him a champion, is that he battles and battles and battles. We hold Adam to an even higher standard, just because he knows how to pitch.”

Perkins’ two-run blast in the first gave PC the good start that it desperately needed, but a decisive third inning put the lone PC senior into a hole that he could never get out of.

Somerset’s number nine hitter, Jeremy Toohey, got the five-run rally started with the Jumpers first hit of the night, but there would be more to come in the frame.

Chris Fitzpatrick’s RBI single put the Jumpers on the board with their first run of the night, and a passed ball allowed the tying run to cross the plate.

Then, later in the frame, Price came up to bat with two runners aboard, and he killed a hanging breaking ball from Perkins to deep left for a three-run blast, erasing the deficit and giving his club a 5-2 lead.

That three-run shot from Price really took the wind out of Pulaski’s sails.

The Maroons, leading by that 2-0 score, had the bases juiced with two out in the second inning, but couldn’t push anything across against the Somerset junior.

Again, in the third frame, the Maroons had Wallen in trouble with runners on second and third with only one out, but again, Wallen wriggled off the hook with no damage being done.

Then, came the five-run explosion by Somerset in the third, and it was good night for PC.

“We had Wallen on the ropes twice there early, but couldn’t get any runs home,” stated McAninch. “I’ll tell you what, that’s the sign of a good pitcher. I can tell you that we had him on the ropes, and that might make us feel better about ourselves, but he was able to bare down, grit his teeth, and went right after our guys.”

“My hats off to him, because that was a solid outing by that kid, and not scoring there early with the two run lead, that really deflated us from that point on,” added the PC skipper.

Somerset padded its lead to 7-2 with two more runs off of Perkins in the fourth inning, and a sacrifice fly by Toohey in the fifth rounded out the scoring in favor of Somerset, 8-2.

“Adam knows how to pitch and he knows how to keep guys off stride,” said Grundy. “He really threw a great game, and when you’re around the plate as much as Adam is, guys are going to get some hits off of you.”

“The big hit by Corey was huge, but it all started with Jeremy Toohey getting us started with the big hit to start off the inning,” stated the Jumper coach. “I told our kids before the game, that the key to hitting John, is staying back and taking the ball to right field.”

With the win, the Jumpers improved to 20-8 on the season, advancing to tonight’s championship game of the district tourney, where Grundy and crew will face home-standing Rockcastle County.

The Rockets were a 6-1 winner over Casey County in Monday’s first game, advancing to tonight’s finals.

That game is set to get underway tonight at 7 p.m. from Rockcastle County High School.

For Pulaski County meanwhile, the Maroons closed out their season with a 13-17 record, but the future looks bright for McAninch’s club, as John Perkins is the lone senior on this year’s PC club.

And, despite what others may think of his star pitcher, the PC coach says that Perkins, for the past three years, has been a joy to coach, both on and off the diamond.

And, he was a special talent on that field as well.

“As a pitcher, it was tough on John this year due to all the youth we had behind him,” said McAninch. “It’s hard to judge how well he pitched because we were so young behind him. As a hitter, he was as dialed in at the plate as any right hander I’ve seen in my 11 years here. The only one that I could think of as close, was Josh Anderson in his junior year. John went up there with confidence and he just flat out went up to the plate and got after it.”

“John’s a talented player and he’s gotten a raw deal,” continued the PC coach. “We’ve had him for three years, and he’s been nothing but respectful to us, he’s gotten his butt to practice on time every day, and he’s done the things it takes to lead a young team. He could have gone haywire on these young kids this year, but he never did. Yet, we’ll have people in the stands and people out of the know that want to vilify him, and make him into a bad guy. As far as on the baseball field with us over the past three years, he’s been a standup guy. I’d like to have nine of him out there.”

Pulaski Co.— 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 — 2 6 4

Somerset— 0 0 5 2 1 0 0 — 8 8 1


HOMERUNS—(PC) Perkins. (SHS) Price

RBI’s—(PC) Perkins 2. (SHS) Price 3, Toohey 1, Fitzpatrick 1



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