As a sophomore in his first season of starting last year, second baseman Zach Doss was more than happy to play a steady but rarely spectacular role for a Harlan County team that made it all the way to the regional finals.
Now a junior coming off a productive offseason in the weightrooom, Doss is showing he’s ready to provide some pop in the middle of the HCHS order. Doss put on a power display Saturday afternoon at Lincoln County with a grand slam and single in two officials bats, driving home five runs to lead the Bears to a 10-2 win over McCreary Central.
Sawyer Fields also had two hits for the Bears with a double and single. Connor Leisge, Dylan Cornett, Trey Early, Jared Sizemore and Sean Johnson added one single each as the Bears improved to 9-5.
Senior righthander Scotty Bailey saw his first action on the mound this season, limiting the Raiders to one run on his in three innings with six strikeouts and one walk. Gage Burkhart, a sophomore lefthander, earned the win as he gave up two hits in three shutout innings with five strikeouts and no walks. Senior righthander Blake Rutherford allowed one run in one inning with a strikeout and two walks.
McCreary Central took a quick 1-0 lead, but Harlan County wasted no time grabbing control with a six-run explosion in the bottom of the inning, highlighted by Doss’ blast to left center after Fields had double and Tyler Cornett and Chance Brown were hit by pitches.
Harlan County rallied for a 4-2 win over Lincoln County in later action Saturday. The Patriots scored two unearned runs against Jared Sizemore in the opening inning and maintained that lead until the Bears scored four runs in the sixth inning.
The Bears finally broke through in the sixth as Cornett and Doss each had singles to start the inning. Dylan Cornett singled home one run and Chance Brown singled home two to put the Bears on top for the first time. Bailey’s single provided an insurance run.
Sizemore gave up two unearned runs on three hits in four innings with three strikeouts and two walks. Leisge earn the win as he allowed only one hit in three innings with four strikeouts and no walks. The Patriots brought the winning run to the plate in the seventh inning with the help of two errors, but Leisige worked out of the jam to preserve the win.
Tyler Cornett had three singles in four at bats to lead the Harlan County offense. Bailey and Leisge had two singles each. Brendan Rutherford and Dylan Cornett contributed one double each. Doss and Wilson had one single each.
Chance Madden suffered the loss for the Patriots, giving up four runs on 11 hits with four strikeouts and two walks in a complete-game effort.
Harlan County (10-5) returns to action Monday at home against Bell County in the first of a two-game series against the Bobcats.
McCreary Central 100 000 1 — 2 3 5
Harlan County 621 001 x — 10 9 2
Terry, Stephens (2) and Strunk; Bailey, Burkhart (4), Rutherford (7) and Jarvis. WP — Burkhart (1-1). LP — Terry. HR — Doss (1).
Harlan County 000 004 0 — 4 11 5
Lincoln County 200 000 0 — 2 4 0
Sizemore, Leisge (5) and Brendan Rutherford; Madden and Baird. WP — Leisge (2-0). LP — Madden.