Northern wins state title

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Northern Middle School baseball team celebrated their Middle School State Championship after downing Hazard 7-4 in the state championship game. Northern ended their year with a 40-5-1 record, a semi-state title and a state title.

The Northern Middle School baseball team capped off a great season with a Middle School State Championship title recently at Lindsey Wilson College. The Maroons, who compiled an impressive season record of 40-5-1 record, downed Hazard 7-4 in the state championship game to claim the coveted state crown.

The Maroons scored four runs in the opening inning and three more in the third inning, while Trey Hornsby and Brady Cain took care of business for the Maroons on the pitchers mound. In the championship game, Brysen Dugger had two hits - one for a triple, and scored a run. Barek Williams had two hits and scored two runs. Chance Todd, Dugger, Cain and Kameryn Hargis all had doubles in the state championship game.

The Maroons reached the state finals by blanking Taylor County 9-0 in the state semifinals. Chance Todd was near perfect on the pitchers mound in a shutout performance. Todd only allowed one hit, struck out 10 batters and allowed no runs in five innings of work. Dugger and Hargis both had homers in the game. Dugger led the way for the Maroons at the plate with three hits, four runs batted in and two runs scored. Hargis and Williams both had two hits in the game.

Northern Middle qualified for the state tourney by winning the East Semi-State Tournament, which was hosted by Meece Middle at Charlie Taylor Field. Northern outdistanced a field of 17 teams to win the tourney with wins over Woodford County, North Laurel, Meece, and Hazard.

Northern's biggest test of the entire post-season came in their opening round game against Woodford County, as the Maroons pulled out the narrow 2-1 win. In the bottom of the fifth, Conner Phelps grounded out to score Conner Denney for the go-ahead run. Northern scored their first run in the fourth when Hargis scored on a passed ball. Chance Todd got the pitching win in six innings of work, allowing only five hits and striking out nine batters.

In the semi-state second round, Northern edged out North Laurel 10-9. Northern had to score five runs in the sixth inning for the walk-off win. Williams batted a perfect 3-for-3, drove in a run and scored three runs. Dugger had two hits, drove in a run and score two runs. Brady Cain had two hits, drove in three runs and scored a run. Chance Todd had two hits, drove in two runs and scored a run.

In the semifinals, Northern downed tourney-host Meece Middle School by a score of 7-2. The game was tied at 1-1 after five innings, but the Maroons exploded for six runs in the top of the sixth to break the game open. Hargis led the Maroons with three hits, two runs batted in, and a run scored. Dugger had two hits and scored a run. Jayce Frye drove in two runs.

In the semi-state finals, Northern and Hazard combined for 21 hits and 32 runs in the Maroons' 17-15 win. Barek Williams hit a homer, scored three runs and drove in four runs in the game. Marshall Livesay had three hits and drove in three runs. Conner Phelps drove in three runs. Hargis had two hits, drove in a run and scored a run.

State Championship team members were Mason Acton, Will Blankenship, Brady Cain, Jamison Coomer, Conner Denney, Brysen Dugger, Wessen Falin, Jace Frye, Sawyer Gambill, Brayden Hampton, Kameryn Hargis, Trey Hornsby, Marshall Livesay, Kellen McKinney, Keegan Measel, Conner Phelps, Carter Ross, Owen Stevens, Chance Todd, Jacob Todd, and Barron White.

STEVE CORNELIUS is the CJ Sports Editor and can be reached at 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.