By Chris Parsons
Thursday’s showdown between 13th Region foes Corbin and North Laurel was not the game to be at if you’re a fan of offense on the baseball diamond.
A leadoff home run in the top of the second inning by North Laurel’s Ethan Maxey was the difference in the game as the Jaguars held on for a 2-1 win.
The loss is the second straight for the Redhounds, who started the season with four straight wins. North Laurel snapped a two-game skid that included losses to South Laurel and Harlan County.
The Jaguars took a 1-0 lead in the first inning thanks to an RBI double off the bat of Austin Thompson to score Marcus Carson from second. Carson reached first on an error by Andrew Jones and advanced to second on a passed ball.
The lone run for the Redhounds came in the bottom of the first when Jacob Metzger singled to center, bringing Taylor Combs around to score from second to tie the game at one run apiece.
Maxey homered on a 2-0 count to lead off the second inning to put his team on top for good.
After the win, North Laurel head coach Darren McWhorter commended both teams for what he called a well-played game and said he was proud of the way his squad recovered from a disappointing loss to Harlan County in its last outing.
“This was a really good game between a couple of teams that played good baseball today,” McWhorter said. “A lot of people were wondering why Corbin had started so well, but after seeing these kids play today, its no wonder they won their first four games.
“But I was pleased with our kids' effort also, especially considering the way we lost that last game giving up a lead I the last inning,” he added. “For us to gut this one out and hold them off as long as we did, I’m proud of my guys.”
On the other side of the field, Corbin head coach Rob Ledington said he was pleased with his squad, especially the efforts of starting pitcher Kevin Goins, who pitched his second straight complete game.
In the end, Ledington said the difference in the game was the lack of execution on the part of the Redhounds.
“Kevin (Goins) pitched an outstanding game again for us and we know that when we put him on the mound we’re going to have a chance to win the game,” Ledington said. “Where we got in trouble is we have to be able to execute bunts in certain situations. We had runners on early and we were unable to get them over.
“I told our kids that we are a pretty good club fundamentally, but in order to win games, we have to be able to execute in those situations,” he added.
North Laurel’s Weston Griebel got credit for the win, giving up four hits and striking out three through four innings. Zach Hurley came on in relief for the Jaguars in the fifth and gave up just one hit and striking out six Redhounds batters through the final three innings.
Goins went the distance for Corbin, giving up three hits through seven innings, with two walks and two strikeouts.