Nease overcomes slow start, downs Clay
After giving up 11 runs in the first inning of a loss last week against Hazard, Harlan County ace Cameron Nease had be wondering if he was in for another long night when he found himself down 3-0 after one half of an inning Monday against visiting Clay County, one of the 13th Region’s elite teams.
Nease shut out the Tigers after that and his teammates provided plenty of offensive support as the Bears dominated from that point in claiming a 10-3 victory.
Nease scattered eight hits while striking out six and walking one to earn the victory.
Tyler Casolari and Ethan Maggard had big games for the 10-10 Bears as Casolari drove in four runs with two singles and Maggard added three singles in four at bats. Hunter Goodwin and Jonathan Wilder each had doubles. Devon Rodridgues, Benjamin Lewis and Nease added one single each.
Caleb Clonce had a double and two singles for the Tigers. Andrew Saylor doubled twice.
After Clay took a 3-0 lead in the top of the first, Harlan County answered with four in the bottom of the inning. Caleb Carmical was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded, and Casolari drove in two runs with a single to left. Maggard put the Bears ahead with a single to center.
Harlan County added two more runs in the second, one when Carmical was walked with the bases loaded and another when Casolari singled.
Rodrigues walked in the third inning, stole second and scored on Lewis’ hit to extend the lead to 7-3.
Goodwin doubled in the fourth inning, moved to third on a wild pitch and scored on Casolari’s sacrifice fly. Wilder doubled home C.J. Carruba to make the score 9-3.
Rodrigues reached on a fielder’s choice in the sixth inning and scored the final run on an error.
The Black Bears play host to Perry Central on Tuesday and travel to Perry Central on Thursday before closing the season Friday at home against Letcher Central.
Harlan County pushed 14th Region favorite Perry Central to extra innings before falling 6-5 Tuesday in eight innings.
Devon Rodrigues led the 10-11 Bears with three singles and two runs scored. Benjamin Lewis and Tyler Casolari each had two singles. Hunter Goodwin, Cameron Nease and Will Scott added one double each.
Lewis pitched seven strong innings, giving up five runs (three earned) on five hits while striking out six and walked five. Caleb Carmical allowed one unearned run on one hit in one inning to suffer the loss.
Braxton Cottongame paced the Commodores with a double and single. Dustin Fields and Ryan Couch each added doubles. Brody Dixon and Hunter Pigman had one single each.
Clay County 300 000 0 — 3 8 2
Harlan County 421 201 x — 10 10 2
Gilbert, Abner (1), Mills (4), Hubbard (4) and Howard; Nease and Casolari. WP — Nease (3-3). LP — Gilbert.
Perry Central 200 111 01 — 6 6 2
Harlan County 201 011 00 — 5 10 5
Dixon, Couch (5), Fields (6), Turner (8); Lewis, Carmical (7) and Casolari. WP — FIelds. LP — Carmical (3-4). Sv—Turner.