Dixon pitches 2-hitter to stop Bears’ skid

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Chris Jones

Harlan County outfielder Nate Shepherd scored a run on a wild pitch in Tuesday’s game against Knott Central.

By John Henson, Managing Editor

Starting pitchers who can stop losing streaks have long been considered an integral part of any pitching staff.
Karsten Dixon seems to have developed that skill for the Harlan County Black Bears, stopping a five-game losing streak with a win over Leslie County earlier this month and a four-game losing streak with a two-hitter on Wednesday as HCHS defeated visiting Shelby Valley 10-0. The Bears avenged a 17-7 loss earlier this season at Shelby Valley.
Dixon struck out seven and walked one as he evened his record at 2-2 on the season while throwing only 58 pitches over five innings.
Isaac Kelly and Dixon each had two hits for the 10-17 Bears. Braydon Burton and Zac Collett added doubles. Brayden Blakley, Tristan Cooper and Jonah Swanner added one single each.
HCHS took a 2-0 lead in the first inning as Kelly singled in one run and Cooper brought in another with a ground out.
Nate Shepherd was hit by a pitch to open the third inning, then moved to third on Collett’s double and scored on Kelly’s hit. Another Cooper ground out pushed the lead to 4-0, then Blakley and Dixon followed with RBI hits.
Harlan County added three runs in the fourth inning. One run scored on an error, then Cooper tripled home Collett and courtesy runner Samuel Henson for a 9-0 lead.
Dixon hit a sharp single off Shelby Valley pitcher Kobe Fields, then courtesy runner Shawn Carroll scored the game-ending run on a double by Burton.
Harlan County will play host to Whitley County on Friday.
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Shelby Valley 000 00 — 0. 2. 5
Harlan County 204 31 — 10. 9. 0
Brown, Fields (5) and Bentley; Dixon and Kelly. WP — Dixon (2-2). LP — Brown.
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Harlan County was unable to overcome nine errors on Monday in a 6-2 loss to visiting Knott Central.
Isaac Kelly had a double to lead the Harlan County offense. Zac Collett, Nate Shepherd, Brayden Blakley and Josh Swanner added one single each.
Blakley gave up five unearned runs on eight hits in five innings, with three strikeouts and one walk. Colby Johnson allowed one unearned run over two hitless innings, with four strikeouts and one walk.
Kent Damron earned the win as he struck out 11, walked none and gave up one unearned run on four hits over five innings to earn the win. Caleb Justice gave up one unearned run on one hit with four strikeouts and two walks in two innings.
Justice led the Patriots at the plate with two doubles. Damron had a double and single and scored twice. Luke Combs added two singles.
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Knott Central 410 001 0 — 6. 8. 1
Harlan County 000 101 0 — 2. 5. 9
Damron, Justice (6) and Kunkle; Blakley, Johnson (6) and Kelly. WP — Damron. LP — Blakley (4-4).