There was a sense of deja vu in the air at legendary Charlie Taylor Field on Tuesday, as for the second consecutive season the 47th District Champions Somerset Briar Jumpers hosted the 48th District Runner-ups Southwestern Warriors in 12th Region Tournament action. Although Mercer County is the host this year, Somerset earned first round hosting rights after beating Pulaski County in their district title game.
Not a lot of runs were scored between the two crosstown rivals over the course of the contest, but Southwestern was able to prevent a late comeback attempt from the Briar Jumpers to take home the 2-1 upset victory to advance on to the 12th Region semifinals. This marked the first victory for the Warriors over Somerset since the 12th Region Tournament in 2016.
Jonas Gallagher was walked to begin the top of the first inning for Southwestern. A sacrifice bunt by Jayce Gager advanced Gallagher into scoring position. A line out retired the side and left a runner stranded on third.
Somerset’s Griffin Loy had the first hit of the ball game in the bottom of the first, a shot to deep left field that bounced off the wall. A sharp throw by Jackson Couch prevented the runner from making it to second however, with Loy settling for a single. He was left stranded after a quick catch from Gager following a line drive.
Kyle West led off the top of the second inning and had a hit go just over the head of an infielder, giving him the Warriors’ first hit of the game on a single. Somerset’s starting pitcher, Raygan New, locked in on the mound from this point, sitting down the next three batters with strikeouts, leaving one stranded in scoring position for Southwestern.
Josh Gross was walked on four straight pitches with one out in the bottom of the second. Braden Morrow grabbed his first strikeout of the ball game for the second out. A walk on Jamison Coomer gave Somerset two base runners before the Warriors were able to get the lead runner out at third.
A diving catch by left fielder Isaiah Lewis put two outs on the scoreboard in the top of the third inning, before another strikeout by New quickly sat down the side in order.
Likewise, it was a fast three outs for the Somerset offense in the bottom of the frame, with Morrow adding two more strikeouts to his total as well.
The scoreless tie was broken in the top of the fourth inning, as Wyatt Morgan hit a massive blast far over the wall in center field for a solo home run, giving Southwestern a 1-0 edge over their rivals. Ben Howard was walked with two outs in the inning before a fly ball was caught for the final out.
Kole Grundy recorded his first hit of the contest past a diving Gager in the bottom of the fourth for a one out single. A bunt was attempt but a stellar throw from Howard got Lewis out at first to sit down the side.
Couch was walked with one out in the top of the fifth inning and advanced to second after a fielder’s choice. Gager managed to split the infield with a line drive, giving himself an RBI single on the hit to make it 2-0 in favor of the Warriors. Gager also advanced all the way to third base on the throw but was left stranded after a fly out.
A shot by Coomer down the first base line was somehow caught on the bounce by Caleb Ramsey to record the first out of the home half of the fifth. Carson Ryan made it to base safely after a walk. A deep fly ball off the bat of Loy retired the side as the Jumpers were still struggling to jump start their offense.
New was focused to begin the top of the sixth inning on the mound, as he struck out the first batter. A hit from Howard went past a diving infielder to give him a single with two outs. A blooper of a hit from Jonah Brock put two Warriors aboard the bases. This prompted a pitching change for the Jumpers, who brought in Colyer White. A double steal advanced both runners into scoring position before a strikeout from White sat down Southwestern without any more damage coming across.
Gallagher came on to pitch for the Warriors in the bottom of the sixth. He was able to pitch a flawless inning, striking out one of the three batters he faced with Somerset now having their backs against the wall in this one.
White and the Jumpers sat down the Warriors’ offense in a very quick manner in the top of the seventh inning, with Somerset now searching for at least two runs to tie the game up.
Somerset was able to get a player on base to begin the bottom of the stanza, as Gross hit a fly ball that landed in between a few players to give him a lead-off single. The tying run in Lewis got on base after being walked. Coomer placed a perfect bunt to load the bases up for the home team with no outs on the scoreboard.
Ryan made perfect contact on the fifth pitch of his at-bat, hitting to center field for an RBI single that put the Jumpers on the board finally and made the score 2-1. The game was over with one swing of the bat soon after, as a line drive into the glove of Gager led to a double play being turned at third base, ending the game and giving Southwestern a 2-1 upset victory over Somerset.
The Warriors were led by an RBI apiece from Gager and Morgan. Morrow went five innings on the mound, allowing no runs on two hits while walking three and striking out three. Gallagher pitched the final two innings, allowing one run on three hits while walking and striking out one.
The Jumpers were led by their lone RBI from Ryan, with Coomer, Gross, Grundy and Loy also recording hits. New went five and two-third innings on the mound, allowing two runs on five hits while walking three and striking out five. White finished the final one and one-third innings and allowed no hits while striking out one.
Southwestern advances to the 12th Region semifinals on Wednesday, where they will play the runner-ups from the 45th District in the Garrard County Golden Lions at 8 p.m. at Mercer County.
Somerset finishes their season with a record of 21-18. Best wishes go out to their seniors Ethan Gadberry, Josh Gross and Brodie Williams as they have finished out their high school careers.
Sorry, there are no recent results for popular commented articles.