Senior pitcher Quenton Brownlee battled on the mound and at the plate, senior first baseman Alex McKinney had the game-winning hit, and sophomore Blake Redmon pitched a critical inning of relief to lead Franklin County over Woodford County, 4-3, in the 41st District Tournament baseball semifinals Tuesday night.
Franklin County (13-22) advanced to the district tournament final tonight at 6 against Western Hills, a 2-1 winner over Frankfort in the first game Tuesday night.
Both FCHS and WHHS will move on to the 11th Region Tournament next week, also at Western Hills.
Tuesday’s game was sweet revenge for the Flyers, who were 0-2 against the Yellow Jackets in the regular season, losing 4-3 at Woodford on April 22 and 7-5 on May 7 at FCHS.
“Man, we’ve battled against them,” Brownlee, who pitched six strong innings, said. “This was our third game against them, and the other two were rough because our own mistakes gave them the win. So this one feels really good.”
“Woodford County is a team we have always struggled with, so it feels good to get them back once,” McKinney added.
The Flyers blew leads of 2-0 after three innings and 3-1 in the fifth, and found themselves tied with the Yellow Jackets, 3-3, going to the seventh inning.
Brownlee hit a one-out triple in the Franklin County seventh. Ty Ellis came on to pinch run for Brownlee, and ended up scoring the winning run when the next batter, McKinney, doubled to deep center.
“I was just looking to get the hit to open the game up,” McKinney said.
Franklin County coach Kevin Goins said he was confident with McKinney at the plate, though McKinney had been slumping of late.
“Alex had led us through a seven-game winning streak (April 26-May 5), but he had been struggling since,” Goins said. “But he locked in tonight. This is what you expect out of a senior — not necessarily to hit it over the center fielder’s head, but to hit the ball hard and give us a chance.”
Some anxious moments remained for the Flyers, however, after Andy Kever of Woodford County opened the bottom of the seventh with a single off Brownlee.
Redmon came on in relief and gave up a one-out walk to Nate Beavers, but he struck out Mason Robinette and induced Morgan Sheets to a 1-3 groundout to end the game.
The Flyers cranked out 11 hits off of Woodford County junior pitcher Blake Hacker, who went the distance.
Brownlee hit a triple and two singles; McKinney added a single and a sacrifice fly and finished with three RBIs; Rylan Rowe hit a double and a single, and Alden Gatewood had an RBI single.
Dawson Willis, Redmon and Matthew Lee also had a single apiece.
Woodford County (6-19) mustered just five hits.
The biggest blows for the WCHS offense were a two-out triple by senior shortstop Eli Boggess that led to a run in the fourth, and a towering home run by senior catcher Travis Bingham that tied the score in the sixth.
Robinette, Ryan Roark and Sheets had a single apiece for Woodford.
To see more photos from this game, click here.