By AARON SNYDER
CANNONSBURG After dropping into the loser’s bracket of the Eastern Kentucky Summer Baseball League Tournament, Greenup County knew it would have to reel off four consecutive victories just to earn a chance at winning it.
The Musketeers answered that call with a string of stellar pitching performances. They will face Johnson Central tonight at 6 at Boyd County’s Addington Field for the league championship and to advance to a state tournament.
The second-year league engaged in its first tournament following a short season. The nine teams — Lawrence County, Prestonsburg, East Carter, Boyd County, Johnson Central, Rowan County, Greenup County, Paintsville and Russell — consist of high school players who will return next season.
After beating Prestonsburg on Saturday night, Greenup County pitchers turned in three straight complete games on Sunday to force today’s decisive affair. With the tournament originally set to end with what would have been a fourth game for Greenup County on Sunday, both teams agreed to push the title game back to today.
Left-hander Jesse Hall pitched all six innings of a 9-0 defeat of Boyd County to start off the day. Charles Frazier, a right-hander, followed that up with a seven-inning gem in a 2-1 victory over Lawrence County. Righty Christian Wireman dressed the cake with icing as he dealt seven innings in a 4-0 shutout of Johnson Central.
The only run allowed all day was unearned. Lawrence County left the potential tying run stranded at third base as Frazier induced a groundout to end that game.
Shining defense was also on display for the Musketeers, especially among the middle of the infield between second baseman Gage Hughes and shortstop Chase Clary.
Clary recorded every single out of the fourth inning on ground balls.
Hughes, Hall and J.B. Brown paced the Musketeers’ offense.
Greenup County coach Greg Logan said the league has been beneficial.
“It gives kids the opportunity to work on their game during the summer,” Logan said. “It allows you to play without having to travel much. Other regions, other teams in the state are playing pretty much every day. If we’re ever going to compete and make a deep run in the state tournament, these are the steps you’ve got to take.
“(Boyd County coach Brandon Ramsey) played a big part in getting this league going,” added the Musketeers coach. “I think it’s great any time high school teams can get together.”