Another big inning sends Bears to victory over Lee


Chris Jones

Harlan County senior Nathan Shepherd, pictured in action against Harlan on Wednesday, had a home run and single on Thursday in the Bears’ 7-6 win over visiting Lee, Va.

By John Henson, Managing Editor

One night after a seven-run fourth inning at Harlan, the Harlan County Black Bears produced a five-run third inning Thursday against visiting Lee, Va., in a 7-6 victory.
Freshman second baseman Alex Creech had a second straight three-hit night with three singles. Senior outfielder Nathan Shepherd reached base three times with his first career home run in the big third inning and a single in the second inning.
“Creech has been seeing the ball great, going three of three two nights in a row is huge for us. He’s giving us a huge spark at the bottom of the lineup,” Harlan County coach Scotty Bailey said. “Nate had a great game tonight. That’s what you want out of your senior is that leadership. After a hard fought win the night before, sometimes it’s hard to get up the next game and come with that same energy. His big homer in in the third sparked a lot of energy and got the boys going. The past two nights we have produced some big runs with two outs, and that’s what it’s about — being disciplined and going up there ready to produce regardless of the number of outs. I was proud of the way we finished tonight.”
Tristan Cooper added a double as the Bears improved to 7-15. Shawn Carroll, Isaac Kelly and Will Cassim added singles.
Cooper earned his third win in four decisions as he gave up three runs on six hits over 4 2/3 innings, with seven strikeouts and three walks. Karsten Dixon made his first start in three weeks due to illness and gave up three runs on four hits in 2 1/3 innings, with one strikeout and two walks.
Lee took a 3-0 lead in the top of the third before HCHS broke through with five runs in the bottom of the inning. Kelly, Cassim, Cooper and Shepherd had consecutive two-out hits with Cooper and Shepherd each driving in two runs.
Braydon Burton was hit by a pitch and Creech had a bunt single to open the fourth inning. Carroll singled in one run, then Creech scored on the back end of a double steal with Carroll.
Lee had the tying and go-ahead runs in scoring position with one out in the sixth inning before Cooper worked out of trouble with consecutive strikeouts.
Harlan County returns to action Monday at Pike Central.
Lee, Va. 003 210 0 — 6. 10. 2
Harlan County 005 200 x — 7 9. 2
Mullins and Ely; Dixon, Cooper (3) and Kelly. WP — Cooper (3-1). LP — Mullins.