By Chris Parsons / Staff Writer
LONDON — The Knox County12-year-old All Stars made the best of a brief rain delay Friday, recovering from what their coach called a “flat start” and cruising to a 10-0 win over Middlesboro.
Tucker Holland, Bailey Lundy and Adam Lay all hit home runs, while Peyton Payne, Thomas Jackson and Mitchell Buchannan combined to get the win on the mound.
After the win, Knox County coach Scott Payne said the fact his team had to switch fields after a massive downpour at the South London Little League Complex was a blessing in disguise.
“We were flat to start this game, but after the delay and the move we really hit the baseball well,” Payne said. “We talked to the kids during the break and they were able to come out swinging the bat a little better.
“We still didn’t really hit the ball as hard as we should have, but we were able to get the win,” he added. “The important thing is that we got the win and we get to advance to the district tournament in the winner’s bracket without a loss.”
Knox County jumped ahead in the first inning with a three-run rally that all started with back-to-back walks to start the game. Holland followed with a two-run single to put Knox County on top 2-0. Knox County added another run to push the lead to 3-0.
Knox County didn’t slow down in the second inning. After stretching the lead to 4-0, Holland hit a line drive over the right field fence to stretch the gap to 7-0.
All was quiet in the third and fourth innings, but Lay and Lundy had some work to do. They connected for a home run each in the fifth inning to stretch Knox County’s lead to 10-0.
Buchanan shot Middlesboro down in the fifth inning to close out the combined one-hitter, sealing the 10-0 win.
Payne said the focus now shifts to Monday’s showdown with one of the favorites in the upcoming district tournament, North Laurel.
“We’ve seen North Laurel quite a bit over the past few years, so we kind of know what to expect,” Payne said. “They’ve got a right hander that throws really hard as well as a few other strong pitchers, so we’ll have to focus at the plate.
“We feel like we have a good enough team to compete in this tournament, but you still have to go out and play the games,” he added. “We’ll really focus on North Laurel between now and then, because that’s the only game that matters right now for this team.”