The young Morgan County Cougars are growing up.
Freshman infielder Sean Gevedon’s two-out single in the top of the eighth inning broke a 3-3 tie to help the Cougars earn a 5-3 win over West Carter in the 16th Region All “A” Classic Championship at Ernie Chattin Field in Ashland on Thursday night.
On a night which Morgan County had to travel 67 miles each way from West Liberty to Ashland for the second straight day, the Cougars did not show signs of fatigue from the long bus ride.
“I’m so proud of my kids,” Morgan County coach Jared Hammonds said. “This is a confidence builder for our season, winning the All “A” championship. But West Carter made us earn it. They are a great ball club.”
After Lance Frederick drew a leadoff walk and a Logan Hembree fielder’s choice in the top of the eighth, Hunter Adams poked a single into right field. Two batters later, Lumpkins reached base after an infield error.
That’s when Gevedon hit a seeing-eye single to center, allowing Hembree to score from third. Sophomore Perry Franklin followed Gevedon with an infield hit to score Adams.
“We showed our youth at the end of the game,” West Carter coach Tim Johnson said. “But we’ve been in these situations before and come out on the right end of them. They got a little tight and nervous at the end of the game.”
Morgan County pitchers Joey Stamper allowed six hits through the first three innings. Over the next five frames, he and freshman Coby Lumpkins combined for one hit to keep the Comets from scoring.
“They’ve scored a lot of runs this year and coming in to this game, I knew we were going to have to have good pitching if we were going to win,” Hammonds said. “Joey Stamper pitched well early and Coby Lumpkins has done really well.”
The other side of the coin saw West Carter leave 14 runners on base. The Comets had multiple opportunities to score late in the game.
“When you get runners on base like we did with less than two outs and bases loaded with your big sticks at the plate, you have to produce,” Johnson said. “We had grounders, strikeouts and pop-ups that really hurt our momentum to try to put this game away.”
Morgan County (6-6) had the toughest road to the championship, playing three games in three days.
“We were in a tight ball game (Wednesday, an 11-10 win over Fairview) and that really carried us over in to tonight,” Hammonds said. “These boys are starting to believe. We’re a young ball club and we just came ready to play.”
Frederick was 2-for-3 with an RBI. Stamper was 1-for-3 with an RBI.
West Carter, which scored all three of its runs in the first inning was led by Kaden Rose, who was 1-for-3 with an RBI. Freshman Ben Jordan was 2-for-4 with an RBI. Richard McGlone also had an RBI.
“Early in the game, we crushed balls but we had a lot of ‘at-‘em’ balls,” Johnson said. “When you do that and you let the other team out of innings without runs, it’s hard to come back late.”
MORGAN 201 000 02 — 5 9 1
WEST 300 000 00 — 3 7 3
W—Lumpkins. L—Rose. 2B—Rose (W).
The young Morgan County Cougars are growing up.
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