By John Henson For the Times-Tribune
HARLAN — The Corbin All Stars had a message for all those baseball observers who tabbed Knox County and North Laurel as the favorites in the 11-year-old division of the District 4 Tournament.
They delivered it early with their bats as four of the first five hitters had hits to help Corbin race to a 5-0 lead Tuesday on the way to an 11-3 win over North Laurel in the winners bracket semifinals at Huff Park in Harlan.
Even though Corbin lost to North Laurel twice in last year's 10-year-old tournament, coach Mel Chandler said his players were confident they could reverse their fortunes this year.
“These guys are very good and beat us a couple of times last year and in travel ball. We felt we could play with them if we played our game,” Chandler said. “We have the players to do it, but it seems like when we face the better teams we thought about them being the better teams. I think tonight we just thought of them as another team and came out here and played.”
Corbin collected 11 hits, led by catcher Garnett Chandler with a double and two singles. Ben Phillips added a double and single. Cade Worley singled twice. Ethan Wine had one double. Stephen Manon, Cade Cooney and Jacob Gardner contributed one single each.
“We haven’t hit it that well in practice, but I think we practiced ourselves to death. We put it all together tonight,” Chandler said.
Cooney was solid on the mound through four innings to earn the win, giving up three runs on three hits with three strikeouts and two walks. Zach Hash pitched two shutout innings in relief, giving up two hits.
"Our pitching was good and our gloves were solid everywhere," Chandler said.
Corbin wasted no time setting the tone for the game with four hits and a walk against North Laurel starter Ty Baker. Cornett singled, Chandler walked and Stephen Manon singled to produce the first run. Phillips singled home another run and Wine doubled home two to knock out Baker.