Letcher rallies from 7-0 deficit to edge Black Bears


Ernie Sexton

Harlan County’s Tristan Cooper delivered a pitch in Saturday’s game at Letcher Central. The Cougars overcame a 7-0 deficit to win 8-7.

Closing out games has been the biggest problem for the Harlan County Black Bears in their start this season and that has been especially troublesome in two losses at Letcher Central.
The Cougars came back from a 6-0 deficit to win 9-8 on March 21. HCHS built a 7-0 lead through three and a half innings Saturday and led 7-1 going into the sixth inning before the Cougars scored five in the sixth inning and two in the seventh to win 8-7.
Sophomore right-hander Tristan Cooper dominated early as he retired the first nine Cougars he faced and limited Letcher to one run on one hit through five innings.
Poor defense cost the Bears again as two of their three errors in the game were in the last inning and led to the winning run.
Jonah Swanner led the HCHS offense with four hits in four at bats. Alex Creech and Brayden Blakley each had a double and single. Colby Johnson singled twice. Isaac Kelly added a double and drove in three runs. Nate Shepherd had one single.
Cooper gave up five runs in 5 1/3 innings, with seven strikeouts and one walk. Creech allowed one run on two hits in one-third of an inning. Karsten Dixon gave up two runs on three hits in one inning.
Canaan Cuniff, Quinton Williams and Little had two hits each for the Cougars.
Harlan County 202 300 0 — 7. 12. 3
Letcher Central 000 105 2 — 8. 9. 5
Cooper and Kelly; Cuniff, Kincer (3) Helle (4) and Little. WP — Helle. LP —Dixon (0-3).

Harlan County was limited to three hits in a 14-5 loss to Perry Central in the Bears’ second game of the day at Letcher Central.
Colby Johnson, Brayden Burton and Swanner each had hits for the Bears.
Dixon suffered the loss as he gave up six runs on seven hits in 2 2/3 innings. Johnson allowed five runs on seven hits in 2 1/3 innings. Liam Garland allowed three runs in one inning on the mound.
The 1-10 Bears play host to Knott Central on Monday.
Harlan County 201 101 0 — 5. 3. 3
Perry Central 132 233 x — 14 17. 4
Dixon, Johnson (3), Garland (6) and Kelly; Pigman, Perkins (5) and Combs. WP — Pigman. LP — Dixon (0-4). Sv — Perkins.
Harlan County fell 9-4 on Thursday at Knox Central.
Jonah Swanner led the Harlan County offense with a triple and single. Will Cassim, Alex Creech, Isaac Kelly and Samuel Henson added one single each.
Colby Johnson, Shawn Carroll and Karsten Dixon pitched two innings each for the Bears. Johnson gave up five whiles, while Carroll and Dixon each allowed two.
Isaac Mills and Austin Bargo drove in two runs each for the Panthers.
Grant Miller gave up three runs (one earned) in 5 1/3 innings on the mound, with four strikeouts and two walks. Mills allowed one unearned run in one inning with two strikeouts and no walks.
Harlan County 021 000 1 — 4. 6. 4
Knox Central 113 211 x — 9. 7. 2
Johnson, Carroll (3), Dixon (5) and Kelly; Miller, Mills (6) and Collins. WP — Miller. LP — Johnson (0-2).