Russell is keeping scoreboard operators busy the past couple of weeks.
Using a big first inning and the steady arm of Joel Mullen, the Red Devils routed Bath County, 12-2, in five innings on Friday night at Russell High School.
It was Russell’s fourth win in a row and fifth in its last six games. The Devils have averaged 10.8 runs during that time frame.
Russell coach Mike Martino attributes his team’s recent success to timely hitting with runners in scoring position, something it didn’t do early in the season.
“Our young guys are getting on base and our older guys are knocking them in,” claimed Martino. “It’s a great combination.”
It was Bath County’s first loss inside the 16th Region after the Wildcats won their first eight games. The 12 runs Russell tallied were the most the Wildcats have given up all season. They had allowed 36 runs all season until Friday.
“This game was huge for us,” said Martino. “We have really been hitting the ball well the last couple of weeks. We came up big today. Those hits were rips.”
Mullen turned in another strong pitching performance. The right-hander kept Bath County off-balanced for most of the game with his display of offspeed pitches.
“My curveball was working well tonight,” said Mullen. “I was hitting my corners really well.”
The senior recorded three strikeouts while only giving up one free pass and two runs.
“That’s the second good outing he has had in a row,” said his coach.
“As a senior pitcher, I felt like it was on me to get the win,” added Mullen.
Russell (11-10) built an early eight-run lead as 12 batters came to the plate in the first inning.
Troy Huffine started the scoring with a double over the centerfielder’s head bringing in the game’s first two runs. Not to be outdone, J.D. Pridemore followed with a double of his own down the left-field line that sent Huffine home.
Later in the first, after an error and a couple of walks, Bryant Cathey delivered a bases-loaded triple into the right-field gap. Bobby May singled in Cathey with his second plate appearance of the inning.
The bases were loaded again in the third inning when May ripped a single that found the hole between the shortstop and the third baseman. The Devils scored two and added another in the fourth.
Bath County (12-5) lengthened the game temporarily after Russell took a commanding lead into the fifth inning.
Trailing 11-0, Clark Kissick, set to be a walk-on for UK football in the fall, ripped a two-run single to right field.
The hitting display continued in the bottom half of the inning for the Devils, though, as May reached base again with the help of an error. Heath Hensley singled to move May to second. Huffine followed with a game-ending base hit to seal the victory.
Huffine and May both went 2-for-4 for the game with 3 RBIs.
“I have had some bad starts in the past so this year I have working more on hitting in the offseason,” said Huffine. “It has carried over into the middle of the season.”
Russell will look to extend its winning streak on the road today at Johnson Central.
BATH CO. 000 02 — 2 6 3
RUSSELL 802 11 — 12 11 2
Kissick, Highley (1), Newtown (4) and Whitt; Mullen and Cathey. W—Mullen (R) L—Kissick (BC). 2B—Kissick (BC), Huffine (R), Pridemore (R). 3B—Cathey (R).
Red Devils drop Bath County, 12-2, in five innings
Russell is keeping scoreboard operators busy the past couple of weeks.
- Local Sports
Panthers pound Ashland for repeat trip to Rupp (with video)
The Fleming County Panthers waited nearly an hour to ascend the ladders set up under the goals at Ellis T. Johnson Arena on Tuesday night.
To the victor belongs the spoils, which traditionally includes the nets after winning a tournament title. But Fleming County milled around on Morehead State’s floor taking pictures and soaking in the atmosphere after handling Ashland 82-59 in the 16th Region Tournament final.
Snipping the twine was almost an afterthought. In fact, except for a minute or so of celebration with their student section immediately following the final buzzer, the Panthers didn’t really even seem all that excited.
They expected to be here, and they were all business after earning back-to-back region titles and trips to Rupp Arena.
AARON SNYDER: Truth or Dare unkind to ’Cats
Ashland was left feeling like the shy kid after an intense game of Truth or Dare.
Truth: Fleming County outrebounded Ashland, 39-24, after Ashland outdueled Greenup County by 10 the night before.
'Relaxed' Steward earns MVP award
Both Fleming County coach Mark Starns and stellar senior Troy Steward attributed his significant strides this season to aggressiveness.
Playing a part, too, in Steward earning the 16th Region Tournament Most Valuable Player award was the lack of nerves, which were nearly overwhelming at times a year ago.
Central's 15th Region reign continues
Once was good.
Twice was nice.
Three was sweet for the Johnson Central Eagles.
Senior Slade McPeek scored 22 points and earned most valuable player honors Tuesday night as Johnson Central rolled past Shelby Valley, 81-56, for its third straight 15th Region championship at the East Kentucky Expo Center.
- Fleming goes for two: Panthers beat Ashland for 16th Region repeat Fleming County pulled away early and never looked back as the Panthers pounced on Ashland, winning 82-59 in the 16th Region championship game on Tuesday in Morehead. Fleming County will face Scott County in the Sweet Sixteen next Wednesday at Rupp Arena.
VIDEO: 16th Region semifinals highlights
Fleming County defeated Lewis County, 66-58, and Ashland beat Greenup County, 81-61, on Monday night at Morehead State University to set up tonight's championship matchup. Tipoff is set for 7.
Ashland cruises past Greenup to 16th Region championship game
Tyler Stewart is known for his unrelenting hustle as one of Ashland’s glue guys.
When the senior guard can pitch in some offense too, as he did Monday in the 16th Region Tournament semifinals, that’s just one more problem for Tomcats opponents.
Stewart scored 20 points, senior Steven Friley posted a double-double with 21 points and 14 rebounds, and Ashland outscored Greenup County 21-9 in the third quarter to break open what was a seven-point game at halftime and cruise past the Musketeers, 81-61.
Fleming battles back to 16th Region final
A healthy Wilder Williams this season has given Fleming County a whole new dimension.
Prior to his sophomore year, Williams sustained a football injury that resulted in three ankle surgeries and limited him to bench duty last season while the Panthers made their run to the 16th Region championship.
A physical 6-foot-3 player, Williams is making his presence felt around the basket as Fleming County looks to return to the Sweet Sixteen.
AARON SNYDER: Will the next hero be unmasked?
Who will the bat signal shine for tonight?
Or, should I say, the Cat signal?
In the third installment of a trilogy that might rival the Batman three-pack of “Batman Begins,” “The Dark Knight” and “The Dark Knight Rises,” Fleming County and Ashland will battle in a matchup that has produced a classic clash in each of the last two 16th Region Tournaments.
If the first two collectively served as a gradual progressions to tonight’s scene, the climax could be off the charts.
Corey Gregg was Ashland’s superhero in 2012, when the senior confidently fired a perfect 3-point shot from the right corner. The triple thrust the Tomcats and Panthers into overtime, from which Ashland emerged 79-73 in a first-round game.
Central wins, Lawrence falls in 15th
The biggest concern for Lawrence County coach Josh Cook was staying out of foul trouble.
His team stayed in it all night, and it cost them a spot in the 15th Region title game.
Shelby Valley senior Tyler Carr led four players in double figures with 19 points as the Wildcats knocked off Lawrence County, 72-60, in the semifinals of the 15th Region Tournament at the East Kentucky Expo Center.
“This one hurts,” said Cook. “We’ll learn from this, and I have no doubt that our kids will get back here and finish the job.”
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- Panthers pound Ashland for repeat trip to Rupp (with video)