Briar Jumpers battle #3 Tates Creek in Semi-State

Caleb Lowndes

The Somerset High School baseball team celebrated their regional title earlier in the week. The Briar Jumpers will now have to get back to business, as they play #3 Tates Creek on Saturday, June 1, at the University of Kentucky.

On Saturday at the University of Kentucky's Kentucky Proud Park, the Somerset High School baseball team will take on Lexington Tates Creek High School in their semi-state match-up. Both teams are looking to extend their seasons and advance to the Kentucky High School Athletic Association State Tournament at Whitaker Bank Ball Park next week.

The Briar Jumpers will have a tall task in battling the third-ranked team in the state, according to MaxPreps. However, Somerset has done a pretty good job of playing the 'giant killer' so far this season.

And while the Briar Jumpers rely on a lot of sophomores and freshmen to fill their line-up, the Commodores are loaded with 10 seniors - with six of them already committed to play at the next level.

The Briar Jumpers have five sophomores, a freshman and three seniors in their starting line-up.

Tates Creek senior catcher Colin Burgess has signed with Wichita State, and pitcher Blayne Deaton has committed to Indiana University.

Burgess carries the big stick for the Commodores, with a .393 batting average, 28 runs batted in, and 9 homers.

Junior Chandler Workman has a .378 batting average, Blayne Deaton has a .369 batting average, and Bryon Smith bats at .364. Deaton had drove in 32 runs, while Eli Tencza has drove in 31 runs.

Tates Creek top pitcher is junior K. Lewis, who has an 8-1 record, 1.38 ERA, 76 strikeouts in 61 innings of work.

The Commodores are coached by Larry Poynter, who was a catcher on the Tates Creek 1990 State Runner-up team.

Sophomore Kade Grundy leads the Briar Jumpers with a .473 batting average, 21 runs batted in and 7 homers. Grundy is also their ace pitcher with a 1.88 ERA, 4-1 record, and 57 strikeouts in 48.1 innings of work.

Gavin Stephens has a .381 batting average, Chance Stayton has a 345 batting average, Dakota Acey has a 325 average and Alex Ham is batting .321.

Stephens leads the team with 35 RBI, Stayton has 27 RBI, and Dylan Burton has 21 runs batted in.

As a team, Somerset (22-12) has a .320 batting average, while Tates Creek (31-7) is at .305. Tates Creek has twice as many homers at 22 to 11.

The game will be played at 7 p.m., following the Montgomery County-Beechwood game at 4 p.m. The winner will play on Wednesday, June 5 at Whitaker Bank Ball Park

STEVE CORNELIUS is the CJ Sports Editor and can be reached at sports@somerset-kentucky.com. Follow him on Twitter at @CJSportseditor.

Steve Cornelius has worked as a journalist at the Commonwealth Journal since 2001, and has been the CJ Sports Editor since 2005.