TheTimesTribune.com, Corbin, KY
By Les Dixon / Sports Editor
PRESTONSBURG — The resilient North Laurel 11-year-old All-Stars are now one win away from capturing the 11-year-old state championship after holding on Thursday to knock off the Warren County-South All-Stars, 8-7. Since losing to the Campbellsville All-Stars 1-0 to open state tournament play, Jason VanHook’s squad has been impressive baseball on the diamond, but they’re not the only Tri-County team that will be playing for a state championship today.
The Knox County 11-12-year-old All-Stars punched their ticket into the 11-12-year-old state title game Thursday by rolling past Campbellsville Thursday, 4-2.
North Laurel 8, Warren County-South All-Stars 7
It didn’t take North Laurel long to jump out on Warren County-South, as Blake VanHook connected with a two-run homer in the first inning, leading to an 8-7 win for his team.
It wasn’t an easy win, though.
North Laurel led 6-3 going into the top of the fifth inning before seeing Warren County-South tie the game with three runs at 6-6, but VanHook’s squad responded with two runs in the bottom of the inning to take an 8-6 edge.
Warren County-South added a run in the top of the sixth, cutting its deficit to 8-7, but Ty Baker forced a ground out to wrap-up the win for North Laurel.
“Our kids never give up,” VanHook said. “This was a big win for us.”
Colby Howard picked up the win on the mound, tossing five innings while striking out five batters, while Blaine Miller tossed two/thirds of an inning before seeing Baker get the save.
Baker also connected with his first home run during the win, while driving in two runs and Charlie Key went 2-for-4 with two RBIs.
Knox Co. 4, Campbellsville 2
Knox County jumped on Campbellsville early and managed to hold on to advance to the state title game for the second straight year.
“This was a good win. We’re one game away,” Knox County coach Scott Payne said.
Thomas Jackson picked up the win on the mound while Tucker Holland came in for the save. Knox County will play North Oldham today in a rubber match. North Oldham knocked Payne’s squad out two years ago in the semifinals, but Knox Central got revenge last year in the state title game. Game time is set for 6 p.m.