By Chris Parsons / Staff Writer
CORBIN — It didn’t come easy, but the South Laurel Cardinals completed a three-peat Wednesday with a 3-1 win over Corbin, earning their third straight 50th District Championship.
After a nip-and-tuck game in which each team had several chances to score, both coaches gave credit to the opposing defense for the strong effort.
“This was a good all around game by both teams,” South Laurel coach Wynn Harris said. “This game was very well pitched and very well defended from both sides.
“We had opportunities to score and so did they, but both teams managed to get out of those jams,” he added. “The biggest one that pops in my mind is when they had bases loaded and we got a line drive right back to the pitcher. You have to take advantage of those plays and we did.”
On the Corbin sideline, coach Rob Ledington said the game came down to a few missed opportunities and not getting timely hits.
“Hats off to South Laurel because they are a really good baseball team, but we played right with them today,” Ledington said. “We had a few chances to get some runs, but we ran into the kind of problems we’ve had all season in not being able to get timely hits.”
The Cardinals took a 1-0 lead on an error in the bottom of the first inning and never looked back. After Corbin intentionally walked Daniel Neal to load the bases, Matt Slavey hit a grounder to the shortstop for what looked like a routine play, but an error plated Trent Abner to give the Cardinals the lead.
The Cardinals added a run in the third to push the gap to 2-0 as the Redhounds tried to mount a rally in the top of the fourth.
Corbin’s best chance to cut into the lead was in the top of the fourth when they loaded the bases with just one out in the inning, but the rally didn’t pan out. Nick Vorbeck connected with a 2-2 pitch, but it was a line drive back to the Cardinals’ pitcher (Trey Martin), who went to second for the double play.
South Laurel added a run in the fourth inning thanks to an RBI single by Abner that scored Brennan Miller from third to push the lead to 3-0.
Corbin trimmed the gap to 3-1 in the top of the fifth when Kevin Goins doubled to bring Andrew Jones around to score, but the Redhounds couldn’t manage any more runs.
Alex Sears came on in the seventh inning to close things out for the Cardinals and other than giving up a walk, he was perfect. Sears got Keaton Burton to ground into a fielder’s choice for the second out and a fly ball to right field by Taylor Combs ended things.
Both teams now move on to play in the 13th Region Tournament at Knox Central High School starting on Monday.
Members of the 50th District All-Tournament team were as follows — Tilmon Jackson (Whitley County), Alex Rose (Whitley County), Micah Purdie (Williamsburg), Jon Teague (Williamsburg), Jacob Metzger (Corbin), Keaton Burton (Corbin), Derek Terry (Corbin), Alex Sears (South Laurel), Trent Abner (South Laurel), Quinton Barnett (South Laurel) and Austin Moore (South Laurel).