By Chris Parsons / Staff Writer
CORBIN — North Laurel’s 12-year-old All Stars dodged a bullet Monday as they got past Corbin in a 4-3, extra-inning affair.
The win moves North Laurel one step closer to advancing to the district tournament, while the loss means Corbin must now play its way through the loser’s bracket.
North Laurel coach Greg Binder was quick to give credit where he felt credit was due after the win and admitted he didn’t expect the kind of game from Corbin that he saw Monday.
“I’m drained. This was a heck of a ball game,” Binder said. “Both teams came ready to play and our boys stuck in there and played to the end.
“I don’t think they made any errors and that’s one of the keys to the game,” he added. “We may have made one error, so you’re looking at an almost errorless game at this level, which is rare.”
On the losing side of things, Corbin coach Shane Creekmore said he was proud of his team for the effort and echoed Binder’s thoughts on the quality of play from both sides.
“This was a great game between two good teams,” Creekmore said. “Our kids hung in there and played really solid baseball, which is what we’ve been working on for two weeks in practice.
“We weren’t really ready or expecting to see the kind of pitching that the (Noah) Smith kid brought, so that threw us off,” he added. “We were able to get around on him the second time around, but we just couldn’t do anything big against him.”
The Smith kid Creekmore spoke of was North Laurel’s Noah Smith, who accounted for two of North Laurel’s four RBIs and pitched the final four innings to get the win.
Smith gave up a run on two hits and struck out nine batters. Offensively he connected for a game-tying home run off of Corbin’s Matthew Creekmore to lead off the fifth inning. Smith also drove in the go-ahead run in the top of the seventh to make the score 3-2. North Laurel scored again in the inning to push the lead to 4-2 before it was all over.
Corbin trimmed the gap to 4-3 in the bottom of the seventh when Jordan Fox tripled to bring Nick Yeager around to score. Brody Barton and Peyton Tirey struck out to end the game, stranding Fox on third.