Three members of HCHS squad help Canes win tourney


Three members of the Harlan County HIgh School baseball team are playing with the Canes Kentucky 15-and-under team out of Lexington this summer. Tristan Cooper (left), Brayden Blakley and Isaac Kelly helped Canes Kentucky win the Warren County Summer Slam Tournament in Cincinnati over the weekend. All three will be sophomores next season.

Even though they all missed the spring high school baseball season due to the coronavirus pandemic, three members of the Harlan County School baseball team are in the midst of a busy summer of baseball as members of the Canes Kentucky Rice 15-and-under AAU team based in Lexington.
Brayden Blakley, Tristan Cooper and Isaac Kelly, all sophomores at HCHS in the fall, helped Canes Kentucky Rice win the Warren County Summer Slam over the weekend in Cincinnati. The team fell 8-6 to the Grove City Titans in the opening game of pool play on Friday, but then bounced back to defeat the PYO Patriots 12-0 and Five Star Bargo 11-3 in action Saturday. Blakley was the winning pitcher against PYO as he gave up only one hit in two shutout innings, with two strikeouts and one walk. Cooper closed out the game on the mound with one inning of work.
Canes avenged the loss to Grove City on Sunday with a 10-1 win in tournament play. The team then defeated Midland Triple 6-3 in the semifinals and downed the Midwest Astros 6-3 in the championship game.
Kelly, who is a catcher, drove in the winning run in the championship game and had a big tournament overall. He is one of the team’s top hitters this summer with a .308 average and a .357 on-base percentage.
Blakley, who also plays third base, pitched two innings during the competition and had a 1-0 record. Cooper also pitched two innings.
Canes Kentucky Rice returns to action July 1-7 in the PBR Nationals in Emerson, Ga. The team will play in the PRR Invite in Louisville on July 9-12, the Bluegrass Wood Bat Tournament in Lexington on July 15-19, the Shipyard Park Invite on July 23-26 in Charleston, S.C. and the EKU Wood Bat tourney on July 29-Aug. 2 in Richmond.