By John Stepp For The Times-Tribune
After leading 12-3 heading into the fifth inning, the Knox County Minor League All Stars failed to close out the game falling 16-13 to Hazard-Perry in the finals of the losers’ bracket of the District 2 Tournament.
Knox looked to be on their way to an easy win before Hazard-Perry heated up at the plate in the top of the fifth inning. Hazard-Perry scored nine runs in the inning, tying the game and taking all of the life out of Knox.
“We came out on fire and we were doing good, but we had that one bad inning there,” said Knox coach Jason Hembree. “They came back and got the momentum, took it away from us, and we could never get it back. It doesn’t take much to get them to drop their heads, and when they do that, it’s over.”
Both teams were tied at one apiece before Knox went on a scoring spree. Knox scored three runs in each of the second and third innings and added five more in the bottom of the fourth. Jevonte Turner led Knox at the plate with three singles and three runs scored. Brandon Hembree added two singles and also scored two runs.
“I’m very proud of the boys. We dropped down to the losers’ bracket our first game here after losing to Hazard-Perry,” said Hembree. “We came back and won two more games and just about won this one. I’m very proud of them.”
With the game tied at 12 apiece heading into the final inning, Hazard-Perry came out on a roll with their first four batters scoring runs, to give them a 16-12 lead. Knox threatened to rally in the bottom of the inning. Jordan Collins scored a run to cut the lead to 16-13 and Knox proceeded to load the bases with just one out. Hazard-Perry stopped the rally with two straight strikeouts to end the game and eliminate Knox from tournament play.
“We had one of our best pitchers in there, but I guess they liked it because they started hitting it,” said Hembree. “After they tied it up, I still thought we had the chance because we had the bottom of the inning, but they tacked on four more runs.”
With the win, Hazard-Perry will take on Clay County in the finals. With one loss, Hazard-Perry will need to defeat Clay County twice to win the tournament.