Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local Sports

March 23, 2014

'Knight' to remember: Boyd tops Cabell Midland

CANNONSBURG — Trying to break a three-game losing streak, Boyd County leaned on the strong right arm of Billy McCoy.

Did he ever deliver.

The senior hurler dominated a solid Cabell Midland lineup, allowing just two Knights to reach base in a complete-game performance.

McCoy only gave up one hit and recorded eight strikeouts with no walks as Boyd County outlasted Cabell Midland 1-0 in the nightcap of a tripleheader Saturday night at Addington Field.

"I was hitting my spots," McCoy said. "I mixed up my pitches well and kept them off-balance."

Boyd County coach Brandon Ramsey was not surprised with how efficient his star pitcher was on his 78-pitch day.

"That is the way Billy is. He is around the zone all the time and he threw his three pitches for strikes," Ramsey said. "He knows what he is doing out there. The team feels really comfortable when he is on the mound."

Added his coach: "He is our best pitcher, if not the best in the region."

The Lions finally broke a scoreless tie in their last at-bat, when Zane Purscelley forced home the winning run by drawing a bases-loaded walk.

Boyd County (2-3) started the late-inning rally when Matt Blakeley finished an eight-pitch battle against Cabell Midland reliever Derek Adkins with a base on balls.

Braden Wyatt and Brock Damron lined singles to left field and the bases were full of Lions.

Purscelley ran the count full before taking the final pitch high and outside, sending Blakeley a celebratory 90 feet for the victory.

"It gives the whole team confidence," McCoy said of the win. "We are a good team and we feel we can play with anyone."

"We hit a little rough spot," he continued. "We can't look down, we have to look forward."

Ramsey has changed up his lineup several times during the first week of the season, looking to initiate a spark offensively as the Lions have not hit the ball well with runners on base.

"We have struggled offensively and we are trying some different lineups to see if we can generate some runs," Ramsey said. "We haven't swung the bats well early in the season and we are just trying to figure some things out."

The Lions are benefitting from some of their younger players new to the lineup. Wyatt and Peyton Marcum, both freshmen, made their first varsity starts on Saturday and made solid contributions in the field.

"I knew they could play defense," Ramsey said. "To get your first start in a varsity game and to see them making plays, it was really nice to see."

Wyatt had four assists from third base and reached base twice, going 1-for-3.

Boyd County scattered five hits and stranded six baserunners. The Lions threatened in the fourth inning after McCoy dropped in a single and Evan Crum knocked a base hit to left field, moving courtesy runner Jason Smith to third.

Two batters later, Smith was caught in a rundown to end the inning.

Knights starter Tyler Hayes delivered a strong outing of his own, going five innings with three punch-outs and only one free pass.

McCoy had his way with a Cabell Midland team that was the state runner-up in Class AAA in West Virginia last year and featured several top hitters that included Seth Kinker, a top-three player and Ohio State commit.

The Knights' only hit came in the third, when Adkins reached on an infield single.

Just as important as the win, Ramsey also saw some fight in his team.

"We have been in every game late, but it seemed like a couple things went wrong and we rolled over," Ramsey said. "Today, we kept fighting and kept having good at-bats. It worked out for us in the end."

In the opening game Saturday afternoon, Belfry (5-2) scored three runs in the fifth inning with the help of two Boyd County errors as the Pirates defeated the Lions 4-3. Jacob Barnwell went 3-for-4 and Ethan Hicks had a hit and scored a run.

Cabell Midland (1-1) defeated Belfry 10-0 in six innings in the second game.

BELFRY    000   130   0   —   4   4   0

BOYD CO.   001     020    0  —      3   7     2

Taylor and Stanley; Bryan, Baer, Barnwell and Wyatt. WP — Taylor. LP — Baer. 2B — Taylor (B), Barnwell (BC).

CABELL MIDLAND   000   000   0   —  0 1 2

BOYD CO.               000   000   1   —   1     5 1

Hayes, Adkins and Elkins; McCoy and Barnwell. WP — McCoy. LP — Adkins.

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