45th District Final: Bat Pats edged by Boyle 7-6 in final

Published 12:28 pm Thursday, June 1, 2017

DANVILLE — The Lincoln County baseball team’s hopes of dethroning defending 45th District champion Boyle County were squelched Friday as freshman pitcher Karson Thompson and the Rebels shut down the Bat Patriots  in a 7-6 win at Danville.
The freshman right hander came on in the third inning of the 45th District championship game and allowed just two hits and one walk in five innings, holding the Bat Patriots scoreless while striking out three.
“The last couple of weeks he’s been feeling good,” Boyle coach Kyle Wynn said of Thompson. “… For a freshman in a district championship game to do that and keep us in it was awesome.”
“We’ve got full confidence in him to do that, but you never know. It’s a big stage, anything can happen. He handled it great.”
Before Thompson took the mound, the Bat Patriots (13-19) were on fire at the plate, lighting up Rebels starter Tristen Helton for six runs on eight hits in the first two innings.
Noah Horton got the scoring started in the top of the first with an RBI triple off the right field wall. Lincoln scored five more runs in the second, with Luke Smith hitting a grand slam to right field and Horton adding another RBI on a single.
Sawyer Carrier, Hunter Jeffries and Garrett Clem all singled to reach before Smith connected for the grand slam. Cooper Brown, who came up after Smith, doubled to left then came home on the Horton hit to make it 6-3 in the top of the second. 
“We’re hitting the ball right now,” Lincoln coach Tee Ellis said. “Ten hits, that should win you a lot of ball games.”
“We hit it, but you’ve got to add on through the game. A baseball score can change at any moment. One swing and it can turn around, and that’s what happened tonight.”
Boyle (24-11) banged out the big hits early to post a 3-1 lead in the first inning. Ty Dragan hit a two-run homer and Hunter Mason followed with a solo shot to give the Rebels the lead. 
The Rebels chipped away at the Bat Patriots’ lead over the second and third innings. Thompson hit an RBI-double in the second to plate Drew Barker and Barker got an RBI-single in the third to drive in Kaden Gervacio.
Helton gave Boyle the boost it needed to collect its second straight district title in the fifth inning, slamming out a two-run shot to give the Rebels the 7-6 edge. Hunter Mason led off the inning with a single, moved to second on an Alex Sergent sacrifice out before Mason connected for the home run.
Wynn said the Rebels had struggled at the plate over the final week of the regular season, but all that changed during batting practice last Saturday. They scored 18 runs on 20 hits during the district tournament.
“We just started clicking,” Wynn said. “Monday’s game, we barreled the ball up well. Then again tonight, we’re not trying to hit home runs, but we’re hitting hard-hit balls and that turns into stuff like that.”
Boyle became the first team since the 2012 Danville team to win back-to-back district titles.
While Ellis admitted Friday’s loss stung, he reminded his players afterwards that there’s still more baseball to play, alluding to the regional tournament at Rockcastle County.
“This sucks, no one wants runner-up, but we’re still playing,” Ellis said. “We’ve got a shot at the region. Holding the region championship trophy would be a whole lot better than the district championship trophy. That’s what I told them, ‘Don’t get discouraged, hold your heads up and we’ll have a shot at region.’”