Brock Damron just grinned at his teammates’ good-natured teasing.
The Boyd County sophomore shortstop’s second double of Thursday night’s game at East Carter missed clearing the left-field fence of J.P. Kouns Field by mere feet.
That hardly mattered on this night, as that two-bagger was part of the Lions’ 11-run seventh inning that polished off a 19-4 beating of the Raiders.
Boyd County (7-8) was already in good shape heading to its last licks, leading 8-4. Then the Lions sent 16 batters to the plate in the top of the seventh to leave no doubt.
“Amazing,” said Damron of Boyd County’s seventh inning. “It felt like nobody was getting out. Everybody was getting hits. People off the bench were getting hits. It was a great night.”
That it was, for numerous Lions. Six Boyd County batters had multiple-hit nights, led by Damron‘s 4-for-6 outing and Dylan Grimm’s 4-for-5 performance. Billy McCoy was 3-for-4, Ethan Hicks and Jordan Smith both went 2-for-4, and Corey Harper was 2-for-2 — both at-bats coming after he pinch-hit in the seventh inning.
Damron drove in four runs, Hicks and Braden Wyatt each knocked in three, and McCoy, Harper and Grimm all had two runs batted in.
“I thought we had good at-bats the whole night,” Lions coach Brandon Ramsey said. “Really worked the count and got pitches that we liked, and we did a good job with them when we got them.”
Kyle West was the winning pitcher, allowing four runs on four hits over five innings. He fanned three Raiders and walked two.
Austin Floyd led East Carter (6-9) with a 2-for-3 outing and two runs batted in. Jesse James chipped in an RBI double.
Raiders starter Jordan Walburn took the decision. He wriggled out of trouble in the first two innings, but left after the fourth, trailing 5-4. Walburn yielded eight hits, struck out one batter and issued four free passes.
Boyd County put up the first three runs in the top of the third inning, but East Carter countered with four in the bottom half. James hit an RBI double, and Floyd doubled home two more. A fourth run scored on an error on the play.
The lead was short-lived, though, as the Lions scored the first two of their 16 straight runs in their ensuing trip to the plate.
Damron scored on Hicks’s fielder’s choice, and Grimm came home on a two-out Raider error.
“We knew it was early,” Ramsey said. “We made a couple mistakes, a couple errors in that inning that led to four runs, but we got out of it and we come back in and got a couple more runs.”
Boyd County tacked on two more runs in the fourth and fifth frames and another in the sixth, then had its memorable final at-bat.
Two East Carter errors, two walks and a hit batsman compounded the Raiders’ seventh-inning struggles.
“That last inning, they seemed to hit everything we threw,” East Carter coach Jeremiah Shearer said. “We didn’t make some routine plays we needed to make, gave them some extra outs and they started hitting balls in the gap and finding every hole, and it just got out of hand really quick.”
The only real suspense of that inning was whether Damron’s drive would get out. It didn’t, quite — it bounced off the center of the fence, then up, then back to the grass. Damron’s teammates jokingly advised him to “hit the weights” during a postgame interview.
After that, he noted the Lions — after a choppy start — seem headed in the right direction.
“It feels like we’ve become a team, finally,” Damron said. “Myrtle Beach was kind of like practice, and we got back here and we’re doing good in the 16th Region.”
The teams combined for 10 errors.
“Some tough hops there,” Ramsey noted. “We need to do better. We talked about that. But all in all, it was a good performance tonight.”
East Carter didn’t see it quite the same way.
“I hope it’s a wakeup call,” Shearer said of the final score. “Maybe we can develop some toughness out of this, because we didn’t show much toughness tonight. We were disappointed with everything we did on the mound, at the plate, in the field. All around, that’s by far the worst game we’ve played this year and hopefully we can bounce back.”
The Lions have won the last six meetings between the teams.
BOYD CO. 003 221 (11) — 19 19 4
E. CARTER 004 000 0 — 4 4 6
West, Wyatt (6) and Barnwell; Walburn, Griffith (5), Floyd (5), Cathey (6), Dunn (7), Brammer (7) and Au. Wells. W — West. L — Walburn. 2B — Damron 2 (BC), Grimm (BC), Wyatt (BC), James (EC), Floyd (EC).