Jason Anders has thrived under late-inning pressure as a Boyd County pitcher, and he showed that again on Tuesday night.
The senior tossed the final three innings of a 4-2 Lions’ win over Greenup County as he picked up the save at Greenup County High School.
“I love my role,” Anders said. “The coaches always tell me to just go out there and do my job. They depend on me to come in at the end of the game and shut it down.”
Anders avoided the walk bug that plagued Greenup County pitchers. Three Musketeers pitchers gave up just two Boyd County hits, but issued nine bases on balls.
“Nine free passes in a seven-inning game for high school pitching is very unacceptable,” said Greenup County coach Greg Logan.
Leadoff batter Robbie Shivel drew a walk to spark a three-run first for the Lions to give starting pitcher Dylan Grimm quick support.
Jacob Barnwell came through with the first of his two RBIs with a fielder’s choice groundout before Jake Cook scorched an RBI double to left-center field. He later scored on Greenup County’s second error of the inning to put the Lions ahead 3-0 right off the bat.
Boyd County (5-7) struck again in the second when Corey Harper scored on a Barnwell single after walking.
Greenup County (7-4) plated a run in the first on a Korey Morris RBI single and again in the fourth when Jerome Boggs’ RBI groundout followed a Tristan Downing double.
The Musketeers wasted a quality chance, though, in the third inning to mount some much-needed offense. After Seth Boyle legged out a one-out triple, in which he lost his helmet rounding first and slid in head-first at third, J.B. Brown reached on a fielder’s choice and Morris walked. Grimm got the next two batters to strike out and ground out to end the threat.
Boyd County coach Brandon Ramsey inserted Anders for Grimm after the fourth. The right-hander allowed just two baserunners, on a pair of singles, and struck out two.
“He threw strikes, mixed it up, got guys off balance,” Ramsey said of Anders, who tallied 18 relief appearances as a junior. “And our guys caught the ball. Catching it right now is a big accomplishment for us. We had a lot of errors in Florida.”
The Lions went a forgettable 1-5 in Vero Beach, Fla. A good 16th Region win helps ease the pain, said Ramsey.
“We were pretty beat down. It seems like everything (in Florida) went wrong,” Ramsey said. “We played some good teams though.”
Greenup County went 3-2 in Vero Beach.
Most of the Musketeers’ highlights, aside from Boyle’s 3-for-4 hitting night, came by flashing the leather on Tuesday.
Boyle made a couple fine plays at third, but they were later topped by outfielders Austin Forbes and Jonah Stanley. Forbes, in left, snagged what appeared to be a sacrifice fly by Trey Johnson before throwing a dart to catcher Zach Hutchinson to nail Ethan Hicks. An inning later, Stanley made a diving grab in right field before popping up to double off Barnwell at second base to end the sixth inning.
Unfazed, Anders needed just six pitches in the seventh to finish off the Musketeers.
It was Strike Out Stroke Night as pre-game festivities included Greenup County’s coach flying onto the field in a King’s Daughters Medical Center helicopter before hopping out with the game ball in hand.
“I enjoyed my ride,” said Logan. “I may look on eBay tonight for a helicopter. I just have to have a pilot.”
BOYD CO. 310 000 0 — 4 2 2
GREENUP CO. 100 100 0 — 2 6 2
Grimm, Anders (5) and Barnwell; Hall, Glancy (2), Wireman (4) and Hutchinson. W—Grimm. L—Hall. Sv—Anders. 2B—Cook (BC), Downing (GC). 3B—Boyle (GC).