By Chris Parsons / Sports Editor
LEXINGTON — Sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good.
The South Laurel Cardinals (29-8) have been a little bit of both through the first two rounds of the Rawlings/KHSAA State Baseball Tournament, knocking off South Warren (28-14), 4-1, Thursday.
Despite three errors in the game South Laurel head coach Wynn Harris said he’s pleased with the way his team has played so far. He also admitted he would take the luck as well, especially since his team is one win away from playing for a state title.
“We’re not flawless and we made a few errors today, but we don’t let them get us down when we do,” Harris said. “That’s been our mantra all year — we throw strikes and we play defense.
“To win a tournament, you’ve got to be playing well and you’ve got to be a little bit lucky,” he added. “I think we’re doing a little bit of both right now and I’m just ecstatic for my guys.”
Austin Vigeant turned in a complete game on the mound for the Cardinals, the second of the tournament for the 13th Region Champions, limiting South Warren to a run on five hits and four walks. As if that wasn’t enough. Vigeant came through with a two-run single in the top of the second that gave the Cardinals all the runs they would need.
The Spartans threatened in the bottom of the second inning after a pair of walks to the first two batters, but Vigeant got South Warren left fielder Austin McElwain to fly out to center to end the inning.
South Laurel struck for two more runs in the third inning to stretch the lead to 4-0. Daniel Neal walked and came around to score on an RBI double by Zach Allen to make it a 3-0 game. Brennan Miller came through with a two-out RBI double that scored Allen, pushing the lead to 4-0.
South Warren was finally able to get on the scoreboard in the bottom of the fifth inning, thanks to a leadoff single by Trey Kirtley. Kirtley scored the Spartans’ only run of the game when Ryder Litten singled to bring him in from third base, trimming the South Laurel lead to 4-1.
After retiring the first two batters in the bottom of the seventh inning, Vigeant walked Ty Pitts, but a pop foul by Litten ended any hopes of a Spartan comeback.
South Laurel advances to the state semifinals for the first time in school history, but being in this position is exactly why Harris said he came to South Laurel to coach.
“We’re excited and we’re happy to represent our community,” Harris said. “This is a dream come true for me and this is why I came here — to have a chance to win a state championship.”
The Cardinals will face Simon Kenton today at 6 p.m. at Whitaker Bank Ballpark in Lexington.
Solid defense, little bit of luck helps Cards advance to semifinals
By Chris Parsons / Sports Editor
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