12th Region Semifinals: Long throws no-hit shutout as Lincoln stuns Somerset 13-0

Published 2:04 pm Thursday, June 1, 2017

MT. VERNON — On paper, the Lincoln County Bat Patriot baseball team wasn’t considered a contender for the 12th Region title, coming in with the worst record of the eight teams. In fact, Lincoln wasn’t expected to make it out of the first round.
But somebody forgot to tell the Bat Patriots that they were the underdogs.
Not only did the Bat Patriots make it through the first round by upsetting the top team in the region, they played spoiler in the semifinals as well by knocking out the second-best team to put Lincoln in the 12th Region Tournament championship game for the first time since 1992. 
And they did it in run-rule fashion.
Jarred Long threw five no-hit innings to lead the Bat Patriots as they took down Somerset 13-0 in five innings Tuesday night at Rockcastle County.
“We’re considered the underdogs. But if you look at our schedule, in win-loss, yeah, we don’t look that good, but if you see the strength of our schedule and the teams we’ve played. We’ve got a hard schedule and this is why we do it, to be ready for games like this,” Lincoln coach Tee Ellis said. “If they want to consider us underdogs, that’s alright. We schedule those games to get better and be ready for these games and it’s paying off.”
“That was a good ball club we beat tonight. It was a good ball club last night. Their win-loss column for those two teams were at the top of the 12th Region so our boys did a good job.”
Long finished just shy of a perfect game in the complete-game win, giving up just two walks early in the action. While holding Somerset scoreless was obvious, the senior hurler had no idea he was riding a no-hitter.
“I had no clue,” said Long. “They are like probably like one of the best teams in the region. I never thought I’d throw a no-hitter against them. I never even knew I was throwing a no-hitter until somebody came out and told me after the game. That’s crazy.”
Long also “never thought” that Lincoln would post such a lopsided victory over Somerset (25-10).
“I didn’t expect that, but I guess we just had a lot of fire in us tonight,” he said. 
Ellis commended Long for an impressive win.
“He turned on tonight. He’s been great for us all year, all four years. He’s been a great player for us. Tonight he was a senior leader. He stepped up and got the job done,” he said. 
The first-year Lincoln coach said he was especially surprised by the no-hitter and the shutout win, which was the only time Somerset was shut out this season. 
“That’s a great hitting team,” he said. “When we played them at home, they scored 25 runs on us and scored seven at their place on us. To hold them to a no-hitter and no runs. That’s a good job for Jarred and the defense.”
Lincoln (15-19) immediately got out in front in the first inning of the game. Noah Horton, who finished 2-for-4, got the scoring started when he tagged an RBI-single off Somerset’s Cody Sturgill to drive in Luke Smith. Smith, who was 3-for-4, doubled to left centerfield to reach and moved to second on a Cooper Brown ground out before Horton connected for his first hit.
The one-run start gave Lincoln all the scoring it needed for the win, but it was scoring outbursts of seven and five in the third and fourth innings that set the team up for the rout.
The Bat Pats’ bats erupted in the third when they batted around and then some, making 12 plate appearances. Smith drove in two runs and Brown, Horton, Long, Sawyer Carrier and Hunter Jeffries all drove in one run as Lincoln opened up an 8-0 lead. Lincoln had seven hits and two walks off two Somerset pitchers in the third. Smith had two hits in the inning with Brown (double), Horton, Long, Caudill and Carrier each getting a hit. Long’s RBI-single marked the end of Sturgill’s stint on the mound. Jake Cothron came on for Sturgill and he finally got a strikeout and two pop outs to end the inning but not before Lincoln tacked on four more runs.
After sitting Somerset down in order in the bottom of the third, Lincoln exploded for five more runs in the fourth to take a commanding 13-0 lead, which would end up the final. 
The Bat Pats scored only one of their five fourth-inning runs off a hit. Parker Monhollen singled to right to plate Josh Caudill, however, the other four runs were scored on a balk, a wild pitch and back-to-back bases-loaded walks. Cothron was called for the balk, moving runners up a base to give Horton, the first of five Lincoln players to earn a base on balls in the inning, an easy walk home. 
A one-out walk to Caudill ended Cothron’s time up, with John Debord coming on. Carrier was the first to face Debord and he was walked on. He later scored on a wild pitch. Debord faced only four Lincoln batters. After the Monhollen single, a Somerset fielding error and a walk to Clem, Kade Grundy was brought to the mound. He then proceeded to pitch bases-loaded walks to Smith and Brown to score Hazlett, running for Monhollen, and Jeffries. 
“It’s amazing,” Ellis said of the win. “We’re finding our stride and hopefully we can keep it going.”
Trae Harmon, who has already committed to the University of Kentucky, and Evan Saindon were the only two Briar Jumpers to get on base, with Harmon earning a walk in the first and Saindon walking in the second. 
Somerset’s Sturgill gave up six runs off seven hits with one walk and four strikeouts. Cothron allowed four runs off three hits with three walks. He had two strikeouts. Debord gave up one hit and two walks and Grundy finished, giving up two hits and two walks with two strikeouts.
The Bat Patriots now have to face Boyle County again, with Tuesday’s 9-3 win for Boyle over host Rockcastle County and the Lincoln win making it an “All 45th Final.” Lincoln fell to Boyle 2-0 and 7-6 in the regular season and went down 7-6 to the Rebels in the 45th District final. 
Ellis and the Bat Patriots are looking for a different outcome in Wednesday’s region championship game.
“We want to do it right and come away with the win,” he said. “They are a good team, but we’re going to try our best to win. We’ll probably be the the underdog again but that’s alright. We’ve been the underdog the whole tournament. But we’ll take it. I always say, ‘Any given night, any team can win.’”

12th Region Championship Game
at Rockcastle Co.

Lincoln    1    0    7    5    0 –    13    13    0
Somerset    0    0    0    0    0 –     0    0    2

LINCOLN – Jarred Long and Parker Monhollen; SOMERSET – Cody Sturgill, Jake Cothron (3), John Debord (4), Kade Grundy (4) and Caleb Wonn.
2B – Luke Smith, Cooper Brown
HITS – Lincoln: Smith 3, Long 3, Horton 2, Carrier 2, Brown 1, Caudill 1, Monhollen 1.