Bears fall to Perry Central in home opener


Kim Henson

Perry Central’s Dustin Fields slid under a tag for a stolen base in Tuesday’s game against Harlan County as shortstop Brayden Blakley went airborne for the throw and tag.

By John Henson, Managing Editor

If first-year Harlan County coach Drew Chamberlain learned anything from the Black Bears’ home opener, a 7-0 loss to Perry Central on Tuesday, it’s that his hitters must become more aggressive.
“We’re waiting on the perfect pitch. We just didn’t come out aggressive,” Chamberlain said. “We just watched too many pitches.”
Perry Central’s Mason McAlarnis and Tanner Perkins were in attack mode from the start in a combined three-hitter with 15 strikeouts and no walks.. McAlarnis gave up only two hits in four shutout innings, with eight strikeouts. Perkins allowed one hit in three innings with seven strikeouts.
The Harlan County pitching improved as the game progressed after the Bears fell behind 5-0 after two innings. Tristan Cooper allowed six runs on five hits in five innings with four strikeouts and four walks. Brayden Blakley allowed one run on one hit in two innings with three strikeouts and two walks.
“Once Tristan settled down, he started throwing strikeouts and getting ahead,” Chamberlain said. “Brayden picked up where he left off and pitched pretty well.”
Garrett Noe led the 4-2 Commodores at the plate with a double. Dustin Fields, David Elkins, McAlarnis, Jacob Daniels and Nolan Wooton added one single each.
Josh Swanner, Isaac Kelly and Braydon Burton had singles for the 1-5 Bears.
Perry scored three times in the first inning after loading the bases with one out on a hit by Fields, followed by a walk and hit batsman. McAlarnis singled in the first run, and Daniels drove in the second with a grounder to second. The third run scored on an errant throw from Blakley as he went for the double play.
Cooper worked himself into trouble in the second inning with a hit batsman and walk to the bottom two hitters in the Perry lineup. Hunter Pigman brought in one run with a sacrifice fly, then Elkins singled sharply to center for an RBI.
Daniels singled in the third inning, moved to second on Skylar Chaney’s sacrifice bunt and scored on Wooton’s two-out hit.
The Bears ran themselves out of a scoring opportunity in the bottom of the third after Blakley reached base on a wild pitch and Swanner beat out a bunt hit. Blakey tried to advance to third on Swanner’s hit but was thrown out.
Noe had a two-out RBI double in the sixth inning for the Commodores’ seventh run and the first against Blakley.
Harlan County will travel to Leslie County on Friday.
Perry Central 321 001 0 — 7. 6. 1
Harlan County 000 000 0 — 0. 3. 2
McAlarnis, Perkins (5) and Wooton; Cooper and Kelly. WP — McAlarnis. LP — Cooper (0-2). Sv — Perkins.