Middlesboro Daily News
Thomas Epperson hit for the cycle and drove in four runs and Timmy Helton also had a two-run homer to power the Middlesboro Yellow Jackets to a 15-4 win over Harlan in the district opener for both teams Monday evening.
Harlan got off to a good start with a pair of runs in the top of the first inning. With one out Jordan Turbyfill singled up the middle and stole second. Tyler Grubbs also singled to put runners at the corners. Christian Turbyfill followed with a hard grounder between short and third, but Jacket third baseman Chase Roark ranged far to his left to glove it and Jordan Turbyfill was caught in a rundown between third and home (5-2-6). Dylan McNiel singled to load the bases and Tye Patrick drew a walk to force in a run. Colby Wilson reached on an error as Turbyfill scored to make it 2-0.
The Jackets took control of things as they batted around the scored ten runs in the bottom of the inning.
Austin Baker led off with a double and Jake Brock was hit by a pitch. Epperson followed with a two-run triple to deep right field. Helton then drove one out to right for a two-run homer and it was quickly 4-2, MHS. John Millett singled, Roark reached on an error and Bubba Brock ripped an RBI double to the gap in left-center. Roark later scored on a wild pitch and with one out Nick Capps doubled in another run to make it 7-0. Capps scored as Baker reached on an error and with two down Epperson belted a two-run homer as the Jackets went up 10-2 and never looked back.
Zach Hollins homered for the Dragons with one out in the second inning, but Middlesboro answered with four runs of their own in the bottom of the inning.
The Jackets tacked on one more in the third as Tyler Prater reached on an error and later scored on an RBI single from Jack Brock.
The Dragons pushed a final run across in the fifth. This time McNeil reached on one error and then scored on another and that set the final at 15-4.
For Harlan, Hollins had the home run while Jordan Turbyfill, Grubbs and McNeil all singled.
Sophomore Lucas Crawford went all five innings to get the win for Middlesboro. Two of the four runs he allowed were earned and he gave up four hits while walking four and striking out two.
Both teams return to action Thursday with Harlan (4-11, 0-2 in district play) hosting Perry Central and Middlesboro (11-3, 2-0) at home against Corbin.
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Harlan 210 01 — 3 5 7
Middlesboro (10) 41 0x — 15 15 4
Hollins, McNeil (1), Patrick (3), Hollins (4) and Wilson. Crawford and BBRock, Prater (3). W—Crawford. L—Hollins. HR—H:Hollins; M: Helton, Epperson.