First-inning explosion carries Commodores past HC


Kim Henson

Harlan County’s Brayden Blakley, making a throw to first base earlier this season, hit a three-run homer on Monday in the Black Bears’ loss to visiting Perry Central.

By John Henson, Managing Editor

Going against the 14th Region’s top ranked team, the Harlan County Black Bears found themselves in deep trouble early in Monday’s game against Perry Central. The visiting Commodores capitalized on four first-inning errors to explode for 11 runs on the way to a 17-5 six-inning victory.
The 21-7 Commodores sent 14 batters to the plate in the first inning, highlighted by back-to-back homers from Dave Elkins and Garrett Noe. Elkins hit his three-run blast against Tyler Lunsford, who was making his first varsity start on the mound this season and gave up 10 runs (two earned) in two-thirds of an inning. Alex Creech gave up a solo homer to Noe when he entered the game, then allowed four runs on four hits over 2 1/3 innings.
Brayden Blakley joined the home run parade with a three-run shot in the second inning to lead the HCHS offense. Caleb Haynes, Tristan Cooper, Will Cassim and Samuel Henson added one single each.
Haynes, one of two seniors on the HCHS roster along with Nate Shepherd, opened the Senior Night game with a hit, then scored on Cassim’s ground out.
Cooper and Henson had hits before Blakley’s blast in the second inning.
Isaac Kelly walked to open the third inning, then courtesy runner Shawn Carroll moved to third on Cassim’s hit and scored on Henson’s ground out.
After their first-inning problems, the HCHS defense was much better the remainder of the game. Henson made two nice plays on hard shots to third base in the second inning.
Blakley retired the Commodores in the fourth and fifth innings before giving up three runs in the sixth. He allowed four hits while striking out three and walking three.
Connor Combs pitched three innings in the start for Perry Central, giving up five runs on five hits with three strikeouts and two walks. Dustin Fields pitched three hitless innings with five strikeouts and one walk.
Harlan County (8-17) will close the regular season by traveling to Lynn Camp on Tuesday and Barbourville on Thursday.
Perry Centrafl (11)03 003 — 17. 12. 3
Harlan County 131 00 — 5. 5. 4
Combs, Fields (4) and Wooton; Lunsford, Creech (1), Blakley (4) and Kelly. WP — Combs. LP — Lunsford (0-1). Sv — Fields.