Quickly, name the one 16th Region baseball team with more than 20 wins so far this season.
The answer — Lewis County. The latest was Thursday's 5-2 win over visiting Boyd County.
Lewis County (22-8) won its eighth straight, but it was memorable for several other reasons. No one knew whether last night was the first win over Boyd County in school history, but it was head coach Keith Prater's first since taking over last year.
“Absolutely it's unique,” Prater said. “... It's a good win for our program. Most importantly, we're jelling right now; let's hope we can keep that up for a couple more weeks.”
For Lewis County third baseman Jordan Doyle, Thursday was the end to some hitting horror. His second-inning home run to left field ended 0-for-10 and 2-for-19 nightmares.
Sophomore pitchers Devon Duncan and Isaac Weddington might have liked last night because Duncan earned the win after relieving starter Nick Thompson, while Weddington surrendered two hits and a run in the seventh and gained the save when center fielder Jordan Davis threw out Corey Harper at second to end the game.
Duncan threw 27 strikes in 43 pitches over three innings to get the win while throwing “mainly fastballs,” allowing just one hit. Junior second baseman Sammy Holder was 2-for-4 with an RBI double.
Boyd County's (17-12) four-game winning streak ended for two main reasons — committing three errors and leaving 12 on base. It was nonetheless a blip in what is still one of Northeastern Kentucky's most dramatic turnarounds, going from 4-7 after an 8-2 loss to Medina (Ohio) on April 5 to a 13-5 run through Thursday.
“We had a bad trip to Florida and didn't play very well down there, and got back home and started playing a little bit better,” Boyd County coach Brandon Ramsey said. “Actually, we've been doing really well until (Thursday) evening. We reverted back into some habits that got us in that hole. (Lewis County) did a good job … they got the hits when they needed to, and we didn't.”
Boyd County struggled at first thanks to Thompson striking out second baseman Robbie Shivel and designated hitter Trevor Mullins to open the game. The rest of the frame went much better — a Jacob Barnwell single to center and Dylan Grimm's run-scoring double to right.
Lewis County's offense took a little longer to ignite. Doyle sent an 0-1 pitch from Corey Sublett over the left-field fence, followed by Holder's RBI double three batters later.
“It was a hanging curveball, down the middle,” Doyle said. “I was expecting curveball all the way; that's what (Sublett) was throwing mostly.”
By the fourth inning, Thompson had thrown 67 pitches, including 34 balls, and he walked two and hit a third. His 67th pitch bailed him out when Matt Blakeley's fly to right left the bases loaded.
Thompson was gone one out into the fourth (he threw 81 pitches with just 37 strikes, four strikeouts, four walks and a hit batter). Before he left, Levi Clark and Cory Christy had run-scoring singles. Lewis County had a chance to score more, but Christy was caught in a rundown between third and home, and Doyle grounded into a double play.
Duncan replaced Thompson, and he erased a Boyd County threat in the fourth by inducing two groundouts, which left runners on second and third.
Lewis County took advantage of two Boyd errors in the fourth. Clark's single plated Holder, and Christy made it 5-1 when his single sent Grant Liles home.
Senior Jason Anders replaced Sublett in the fifth, and he struck out the side on the way to five whiffs out of the six he faced. In the seventh, Harper's single scored pinch-hitter Jordan Smith.
BOYD CO. 100 000 1 — 2 7 3
LEWIS CO. 021 200 x — 5 8 0
Sublett, Anders (5) and Barnwell. Thompson, Duncan (4), Weddington (7) and McCann. W-Duncan. L-.Sublett. Save – Weddington. HR-Doyle (LC). 2B-Grimm (BC), Holder (LC).