Johnson, Patrick team for seven hits as Hazard downs HC in opener


Kim Henson

Hazard’s Max Johnson slid into third base ahead of the throw to Harlan County’s Nathan Shepherd in Tuesday’s game. Johnson had a homer, triple and double in the Bulldogs’ 9-3 victory.

By John Henson, Managing Editor


Combining for seven hits and six RBI out of the third and fourth spots in the Hazard lineup, shortstop Max Johnson and second baseman Sawyer Patrick provided quite the 1-2 punch on Tuesday in the Bulldogs’ 9-3 season-opening win at Harlan County.
Harlan County put up a fight early against the defending 14th Region champion Bulldogs, who won 30 games last year and advanced to the state quarterfinals, but the Bears’ inability to retire Johnson and Patrick proved too much to overcome.
Johnson had a run-scoring triple in the first inning, then scored on Patrick’s double. Johnson put the Dogs ahead to stay with a two-run homer in the third inning. He also added a double. Patrick had two double and two singles and drove in four runs.
Jonah Swanner and Nate Shepherd had the only hits for the Bears, who scored twice in the first inning without the benefit of a hit. Swanner opened with a walk and moved to third when Hazard pitcher Garrett Miller threw past first base on Alex Creech’s sacrifice bunt. Tristan Cooper and Isaac Kelly followed with RBI ground outs.
Karsten Dixon gave up four runs on six hits in three innings to suffer the loss. Colby Johnson allowed five runs on nine hits in 3 2/3 innings. Creech recorded the final out.
Miller claimed the win as he allowed two runs on one hit in 4 1/3 innings, with eight strikeouts and two walks. Gus Mullins gave up one hit with three strikeouts and three walks in 2 2/3 innings.
Harlan County returns to action Thursday at home against Knox Central.
Hazard 202 201 2 — 9. 15. 3
Harlan County 200 000 1 — 3. 2. 2
Miller, Mullins (5) and Davidson; Dixon, Johnson (4), Creech (7) and Kelly. WP — Miller. LP — Dixon (0-1). HR — Hazard (Johnson).