Cougars claim a pair of one-run, extra-inning wins over Harlan County

By John Henson, Managing Editor

One inning away from losses in both ends of a doubleheader at Harlan County, the Letcher Central Cougars found a way to survive, then found a way to win.
Letcher Central swept two hard-fought games Saturday afternoon, winning 5-4 in eight innings, then 10-9 in 10 innings in the nightcap to improve to 15-12 on the season.
Sam Little led the Letcher offense in the opening game with a double and two singles. Jonah Little and Christoper Akers added one double each. Canaan Cuniff and Austin Triplet had one single each.
Cuniff gave up four runs on seven hits in six innings, with five strikeouts and three walks. Jonah Little gave up one hit in two innings to earn the win.
Zac Collett led the Harlan County offense in the first game with two doubles. Josh Swanner added two singles. Jonah Swanner, Tristan Cooper, Isaac Kelly and Brayden Blakley added one single each.
Cooper pitched six innings, giving up three runs on six hits with five strikeouts and two walks. Nate Shepherd gave up two runs (one earned) on one hit in two innings.
HCHS led 4-2 after five innings, but Letcher scored one run in the sixth, seventh and eighth innings to claim the win. Preston Helle was hit by a.pitch to open the eighth inning and scored what turned out to be the winning run on Sam Little’s double.
Akers led Letcher on offense in the nightcap with a double and two singles. Aiden Fields and Kaleb Slone added three singles each. Sam Little and Jonah Little had a double and single each. Ethan Brown had a double and three RBI. Quinton Williams added one single.
Brown esrned the win on the mound as he gave up one unearned run on four hits over 6 2/3 innings in relief. Fields was the starter and went three innings. Sam Little pitched 1/3 of an inning.
Karsten Dixon had three hits to lead the Bears in the second game. Josh Swanner and Jonah Swanner added two hits each. Collett, Kelly and Shepherd each had doubles. Cooper, Blakley and Braydon Burton added one single each.
Colby Johnson started on the mound for the Bears and gave up seven runs on five hits in three innings. Dixon allowed three runs on 10 hits over seven innings.
Harlan County had chances to win the second game in the bottom of the seventh, eighth and ninth innings but couldn’t get across a run.
The Cougars scored the winning run in the 10th on hits by Jonah Little, Akers and Fields to open the inning.
Letcher Central will play host to Breathitt County on Tuesday. Harlan County (9-15) will travel to Corbin on Monday and plays host to Knott Central on Tuesday.

Letcher Central 000 021 11 — 5. 7. 2
Harlan County 001 030 00 — 4. 8 3
Cuniff, J. Little (7) and S. Little; Cooper, Shepherd (7) and Kelly. WP — J. Little. LP — Shepherd (1-4).
Letcher Central 007 001 100 1 — 10. 15. 4
Harlan County 131 301 000 0 — 9. 13. 4
Fields, S. Little (4), Brown (4) and J. Little; Johnson, Dixon (4) and Kelly. WP — Brown. LP — Dixon (1-2).