Greenup County applied pressure all night, but the Raceland Rams were impervious.
One night after run-ruling Raceland 12-2, the Musketeers got a runner or two on base in every inning but one in a 63rd District rematch with the Rams.
But host Raceland made the plays to get itself out of trouble time and again in a 2-1 victory, which snapped a 14-game losing streak in the series.
“It just feels good to get one on Greenup,” said sophomore Tyler Morris, the game’s winning pitcher. “It felt great, man. My teammates were behind me good.”
Greenup County got the potential tying run to third base in the form of Christian Wireman with two outs in the top of the seventh with the top of its order up.
But Morris got Gage Hughes to ground out to freshman second baseman Trey Mills to end it.
The Rams (13-7) defused threats in every other frame except the first. Most notably, the Musketeers had two runners on with two outs in the sixth, but Tristan Downing was retired on a groundout.
“Today we were able to bear down and make some plays with two outs,” Raceland coach Randy Vanderhoof said.
The Rams’ Landon Adams hit an infield single off the tip of Greenup County pitcher Jared Hunt’s glove with the bases loaded in the third inning to score Nathaniel Davidson and break a 1-1 tie, and Morris and his defense made that stand up.
Morris yielded seven hits, but recorded five strikeouts and issued two walks.
He also drove in the first run of the game when his first-inning single plated Alec Risner.
“Tyler had great command all day long, was really focused and stayed within himself,” Vanderhoof said. “He got ahead of a lot of hitters today, and that helps a lot, especially against a really good team like Greenup.”
The Musketeers tallied their lone run in the second inning, when Wireman’s infield single scored J.B. Brown.
But Greenup County ran itself out of that inning and the fifth as well.
“We are very aggressive on the bases, but for somebody to think we’re stealing and we give the bunt sign, that’s just not mentally in the ball game, and that’s hard to win with guys’ mindsets like that,” said Musketeers assistant coach Steve Logan, who was filling in as skipper for his brother Greg.
Logan said his team was “very nonchalant” on Tuesday.
“Just because it says ‘Greenup’ across the front (of our jerseys), I think our guys thought that (Raceland) was gonna roll over and play dead, especially after the beating last night,” Logan said. “And they threw Morris and he did a good job, and we just weren’t up for it.”
Brown went 2-for-3 for the Musketeers (9-12). Hunt was the losing pitcher, allowing two runs on four hits in three innings, with one strikeout and three walks, one of them intentional.
With the win, Raceland tied Boyd County for the most wins in the 16th Region this season.
“It means a lot,” Morris said of that distinction. “It means we’re gonna go deep this year.”
“They just come out and they really focus on what we’re trying to do and focus on themselves, and if it’s good enough that day, it’s good enough. If it’s not, it’s not,” Vanderhoof said of his players. “They’re a pretty laid-back bunch and they just like to play.”
Vanderhoof also credited assistant coaches Randy Morris, Marty Mills and James Collier with effective defensive positioning and calling the game.
Raceland buried a seven-game skid against district opponents, improving to 1-2 in district tournament seeding contests with two games left against Lewis County and a makeup with Russell.
The Lions are 3-1 in seeding games after beating the Red Devils 9-0 in Vanceburg on Tuesday. Russell is 2-1 and Greenup County is 1-3. The Musketeers and Red Devils have two games left to play with each other.
“There’s not a whole lot you can do about it now, just hopefully win out,” Logan said of Greenup County’s seeding situation. “It is what it is and now you gotta deal with the consequences.”
The Rams already have their eye set on the district tournament.
“We’ve come a long way since the middle of March, and hopefully we can keep improving,” Vanderhoof said. “We’ve got about four weeks to go, and maybe we can compete down there in the district tournament in a few weeks.”
GREENUP CO. 010 000 0 — 1 7 1
RACELAND 101 000 X — 2 5 1
Hunt, Glancy (4) and Brown; Morris and Collier. W — Morris. L — Hunt. 2B — Risner (R), Davidson (R).
ZACK KLEMME can be reached at email@example.com or (606) 326-2658.