Four-run sixth lifts Bears to comeback win over Williamsburg

Dragons close regular season with loss at Perry Central


Kim Henson

WIlliamsburg second baseman Drew Damron took the throw as Harlan County’s Isaac Kelly stole second in Thursday’s game. Harlan County rallied for a 6-3 victory.

By John Henson, Managing Editor

Down 3-2 heading into the bottom of the sixth inning against visiting Williamsburg, the Harlan County Black executed when it counted most in a four-run uprising that sent them to a 6-3 victory Thursday over visiting Williamsburg in their final home game of the season.
Tristan Cooper opened the inning with a double to center, then Jonah Swanner followed with a walk. Will Cassim moved both runners over with a nice bunt down the first-base line, then Alex Creech ripped a two-run single into left to put HCHS ahead to stay. Brayden Blakley added an important insurance run with an RBI single, then scored on a wild pitch after taking third on an error in the outfield after his hit.
Williamsburg made it interesting in the seventh as Henry Bowling and Isaiah Sizemore had two-out hits. Sydney Bowen walked to load the bases with Bowling trying to score as ball four went past catcher Isaac Kelly. Creech raced home to the plate to make the game-ending tag on a throw from Kelly.
“The boys battled all game. They hit a lot of balls right to them and them. That’s baseball and it happens, but we stayed up and kept swinging the bat. Our defense kept us in the ball game. We made some plays,” Harlan County coach Scotty Bailey said. “Samuel Henson had a great game in right after making the move in the outfield on Friday. This was his first game in right. I’m really proud of him. He’s the definition of “whatever you and the team need coach.’ Aiden Craig also made some great plays at second base.”
Swanner supplied all of the Harlan County offense in the first five innings with a two-run homer in the first inning after Kelly opened the game with a walk. Creech led the Bears with a double and single. Cooper had a double, while Braydon Burton and Blakley had singles.
Cooper started on the mound, giving up one run on six hits over 3 1/3 innings, with three strikeouts and three walks. Creech earned the win as he allowed two runs on six hits in 3 2/3 innings, with three strikeouts and four walks.
“I thought Cooper and Creech both threw well. Williamsburg is a good hitting team, so I’m glad they got to throw against them. They went up 3-2 in the sixth, but the boys came in and found a way. They have wanted to win some ball games, and I’m proud of how they have battled all year,” said Bailey of the Senior Night win.
Braydon Burton, Brayden Blakley and Karsten Dixon were honored as the HCHS seniors.
“I’ve told them all year if they execute like they just did they can win a lot of games. Blakely came up later and got a huge RBI single as well. I’m very proud of the boys and the grit they’re showing. I also wanna say thank you to my three seniors for their time and dedication with this being senior night I’m glad they could go out and win their last home game. I ask a lot out of them, but they buckled down this last year and have been leaders for us. I’m proud of them.”
Bowling pitched a complete game for the Jackets, giving up six runs on six hits with three strikeouts and two walks.
Bradyn Hopkins, John Davis and Sizemore each had two hits for the 13-16 Jackets. Bowen, Casey Kyser, Bowling and Conner Faulkner had one hit each.
The 15-11 Bears close their regular-season schedule Friday at Pike Central.
Williamsburg 100 011 0 — 3. 10 4
Harlan County 200 004 x — 6. 6. 1
Bowling and Sizemore; Cooper, Creech (4) and Kelly. WP — Creech (4-3). LP — Bowling. HR — Swanner (2).


Harlan had twice as many errors as hits in its regular-season finale Thursday at Perry Central, falling 8-0.
The Dragons gave up five unearned runs on six errors. The Commodores built a 6-0 lead after three innings.
Jaedyn Gist, Jake Brewer and Eli Freyer had singles for the 12-13 Dragons.
Baylor Varner gave up four runs (one earned) on one hits with one strikeout and two walks in two innings on the mound. Luke Luttrell allowed three runs (one earned) on three hits in three innings, with three strikeouts and three walks. Brody Owens allowed one run on two hits with one walk in one inning.
Harlan will play Middlesboro in the first round of the 52nd District Tournament on Monday at Middlesboro.
Harlan 000 000 0 — 0. 3. 6
Perry Central 123 101 x — 8. 6. 0
Varner, Luttrell (3), Owens (6) and Owens, Rouse (6); Daniels, Gayheart (4), Hughes (6) and Wooton. WP — Gayheart. LP — Varner (3-4).


Harlan County’s Jonah Swanner connected on a two-run homer in the first inning Thursday in the Bears’ 6-3 win over visiting Williamsburg. (Kim Henson)