Panther rally falls short vs. Owen County

By Susan Riddell Published:

What looked like a seventh inning insurance run for Owen County High School baseball team turned out to be the winning run Tuesday night at Charlie Figg Field after Frankfort High rallied from a 4-0 deficit only to fall to the Rebels 4-3.

“We had some good opportunities, but couldn’t quite push through,” FHS coach Jerrad Robin said.

Trailing 3-0 to Owen County, FHS was twice able to bring the tying run to the plate. Both times, the Panthers couldn’t convert.

“We had some good contact on the ball, but it just wasn’t getting us runs,” Robin said. “We changed our strategy in the last inning, and that really helped. We saw some good fastballs, and they were ones we could get hits off of.”

But prior to the Panther rally in the bottom of the seventh, Owen County added a key fourth run in the top half of the inning when Trevor Smith reached on an error and took second on the play. It was a very close play at second base on the play, one that proved costly once it didn’t go Frankfort’s way. Smith soon took third on a fielder’s choice and scored on a sacrifice fly from Nolan Tackett.

Heading into Frankfort’s final at-bat, Robin instructed his players to take a strike before swinging the bat.

“We just wanted them to focus more at the plate, and that helped,” he said. “We were more patient, and we were swinging at the right pitches.”

DeShawn Newton led the inning off with a walk. Dre Scott singled, and Conner Kelley walked to load the bases. Jared Stephens earned a full count before walking. Newton scored on the walk. McKinley Stonewall then hit a hard single to right field, scoring Scott.

With the bases again loaded, pinch hitter Russell Lile hit a line drive that Owen pitcher Josh Spaulding caught. Spaulding was able to pick Stonewall off first on the play for the second out of the double play.

“Mac is one of our best base runners, and he just wanted to score so bad,” Robin said of Stonewall. “It was a very hard hit ball, and he focused on that.”

Now with two outs, Jeffrey Quire came up next. A wild pitch allowed Kelley to score and Stephens to go to third. Quire eventually walked and stole second. A strikeout, however, ended the game.

“We’re making progress,” Robin said. “On offense, we can still be more patient at the plate, and on defense, I want them wanting the ball more to come to them so they can make the plays.”

Scott finished with three hits. Stephens doubled, and Newton, Stonewall and Connor Slone hit a single apiece. Slone was robbed of two other hits by the Owen County defense including one in the fifth inning when Owen centerfielder Logan Webster dove and caught Slone’s hard liner with two runners on base.

Jacob Harris started on the mound for Owen County with Bobby Duncan and Spaulding pitching in relief.

Kelley pitched a complete game for the Panthers, and Robin was very pleased with his performance. Kelley gave up one hit with three walks and four strikeouts. The FHS defense had six errors, however.

The Panthers play at Carroll County Thursday and host Paris for Senior Night Friday before facing Western Hills next week in the district tournament.

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