Briar Jumpers run rule Patriots

CALEB LOWNDES I CJ

Somerset High school junior Josh Gross slides into third base in the Briar Jumpers' win over Lincoln County High School on Friday at Charlie Taylor Field.

After winning their opening game of the 2022 season against South Laurel, the Briar Jumpers have seen themselves outscored 18-4 over the last 2 games as they have been mired in the middle of a 2-game skid. Things didn't look much brighter on Friday evening as they welcome in the Patriots of Lincoln County, a team that had only went to 5 innings in their 2 games so far in the season due to an insanely efficient offense (outscoring their 2 opponents 34-9). With Somerset starting a freshman on the mound for this game in Isiah Lewis, one would think that the offense of Lincoln County would pounce on this and run up the score on him. This was not the case however, as through the first 2 and a half innings, the game was a straight up pitcher's duel, with neither team able to get much of anything on base. However, the Briar Jumper offense would explode in the bottom of the 3rd inning, scoring 9 runs en route to a 5-inning 14-2 victory over Lincoln County.

Both pitchers, Lewis for Somerset and Tate Curlis for Lincoln County, were fairly dominant as explained above, with both pitchers throwing 4 strikeouts through the bottom of the 3rd inning. Lincoln County would get rattled early in the bottom of the 3rd, as following a single from Somerset and an ensuing throwing error from Lincoln County, the Briar Jumpers would have their first run on the board as Lewis would make it home. Following a double from Cayden Cimala and a triple from Cole Reynolds, Somerset would push their leads to 3-0. Some nice base stealing from Josh Gross (who had an insane 5 steals during the course of the game) and wild pitches would increase the Somerset lead to 4-0. Then, the hit parade started for the Briar Jumpers, as Jaden Bryant would hit a single to left field and Brayden Gross would hit a single to right field to bring the Somerset lead to 6-0. Lincoln County would then have a pitching change, as Landon Day would come on for relief. This pitching change would not phase the home team, as following a 2 RBI single from Lewis, and a RBI double from Cimala, the Briar Jumper lead would grow to 9-0, with Lincoln County on the verge of getting mercy ruled.

Somerset's Lewis would face some adversity on the mound in the top of the 4th, as following a walk and 2 singles (Skyler Quinn and Lee Amon), the bases were loaded for the freshman pitcher. A bad pitch would give the Patriots their first run on the board, but the defense stepped up with a double play after this, and following Lewis' 5th strikeout of the day, the Briar Jumpers escaped the top of the 4th only allowing 2 runs by Lincoln County.

Somerset's Gross would get the scoring started for the home team in the bottom of the 4th after hitting a single and then proceeding to steal 2nd, 3rd, and home plate in succession, giving the Briar Jumpers their 10th run of the game, but they were not finished there. Following a walk and a hit by pitch, and additionally a successful double steal, Gross would hit a single to left field and bring both the runners home, bringing the lead for Somerset to 12-2, good enough for the run rule to come into effect should Lincoln County not be able to score in the next half inning. A single from Cimala would load the bases, and following another throwing error by the Patriots, 2 more runners would score, giving the Briar Jumpers some breathing room for the run rule 14-2. Lincoln would once again make a pitching change, bringing on Landen Tracy, and following a shaky start with a walk, he was able to compose himself and get the final 2 outs of the inning. Lincoln County's Brennin Hazlet would have an insane diving catch towards the end of the inning as well that would honestly be good enough to make the Sportscenter Top 10.

With the trouble they found themselves in their last defensive half inning, you would think a pitching change might have been in order for the Briar Jumpers for the top of the 5th, but Lewis would trot out there to the mound to try to wrap this one up. After a very shaky top of the 4th, Lewis managed to get the next 3 batters for Lincoln County to either line-out of fly-out in order, and as the final out was recorded, Somerset found themselves with a 5-inning victory over the Patriots, 14-2. Overall, a very good performance on the mound for the freshman, one that may set him up for a fantastic season this year!

Somerset improves to 2-2 on the young season with this victory and will next be in action early next week. On Monday, the Briar Jumpers will host the Colonels of Whitley County (1-2), with first pitch at 6 PM, and on Tuesday, the Briar Jumpers will travel to take on the Lakers of Russell County, with first pitch there scheduled for 5:30 PM.

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