Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local Sports

March 21, 2014

Coach’s new pitch pays off for Central

Golden Eagles beat Boyd in baseball, 5-3

PAINTSVILLE — Johnson Central baseball coach Shawn Hall has changed his philosophy on pitching in an effort to better prepare his team for May.

“If you walk two batters, you’re out of the game,” he said. “I want our kids to learn to go after batters.”

His approach worked on Thursday night.

Central used three pitchers and allowed just three hits, including two in the final inning, as they edged Boyd County, 5-3, at Eagle Field.

The Lions (1-2) scored two runs in the top of the seventh inning when left fielder Zane Purscelley scored on a single by Dylan Grimm. Catcher Jacob Barnwell scored on a sacrifice fly by first baseman Evan Crum.

“We still seem out of sync,” said Boyd County coach Brandon Ramsey. “We’re working on some things in our lineup, and I think we have a lot of work ahead of us.”

Boyd County had several missed opportunities. The Lions left 11 runners on base, including four in scoring position. Central’s three pitchers combined for 11 walks.

“We’ve got take advantage of opportunities to score,” Ramsey added. “You cannot leave runners on base against teams of Johnson Central’s caliber and expect to win.”

Freshman Austin Davis’ RBI-single sparked a three-run sixth inning for the Golden Eagles (5-0). He finished 2-for-3 at the plate. Zac Slone’s fielder’s choice scored Blake Gamble, and Alex Castle plated the final run in the frame.

“I thought we hit and made plays when we had to,” said Hall. “We need to be more consistent at the plate.”

Grimm worked a complete game for the Lions.  He had three strikeouts and walked two batters.

Seth Ratliff got the win for Central. In 2 1/3 innings of work, he allowed just one hit and walked a batter. Eighth-grader Tate Meade started the game and Juwan Mayes also worked in relief.

Boyd County returns to action Saturday, hosting Cabell Midland (W.Va.) and Belfry. Central plays host to East Ridge on Saturday.

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