By Chris Parsons
MIDDLESBORO — The North Laurel Jaguars picked up a 10-8 road win over Middlesboro Saturday, but it wasn’t easy.
Despite taking a 5-0 lead in the top of the first inning on the heels of a grand slam by starting pitcher Logan Mallory, Darren McWhorter’s squad had to score in the ninth inning and withstand a late rally by the Yellow Jackets to earn the victory.
“This was a good win for our kids on a couple of fronts,” McWhorter said. “It gives our young kids some confidence as far as winning close games and it showed that we can make plays when we need to.
“We made the routine plays that we hadn’t made during the week,” he added. “I’m talking about balls that were hit right at us that we know how to make plays on, so that’s something that we really needed to start doing.”
With the Jaguars already leading 1-0, Mallory extended the lead to 5-0 when he connected for the grand slam. Middlesboro trimmed the gap to 5-3 after a three-run bottom half of the first inning. The Jaguars scored a run in each of the second and third innings to push the lead to 7-3.
All was quiet offensively until Middlesboro struck for three more runs in the fifth inning and another in the sixth to tie the score at seven apiece.
North Laurel scored three in the top of the seventh after Mallory walked and came around to score on an RBI double by Austin Rudder to make the score 9-7.
Then, with runners on second and third, the Yellow Jackets chose to pitch to Carson, who made them pay with a two-run triple to extend the Jaguars’ lead to 10-7.
Mallory had a chance to close things out in the seventh, but after giving up a run to see the North Laurel lead shrink to 10-8, McWhorter went to Carson on the mound.
The move paid off as Carson retired the next two batters, ending the game on a strikeout to earn the save.
The win improves the Jaguars to 2-2 on the season. They will be back in action today as they host Pulaski County at 5:30 p.m.
North Laurel 10, Middlesboro 8
North Laurel 511 000 3 – 10 11 1
Middlesboro 300 031 1 – 8 8 0
WP – Mallory
SV – Carson
LP – Yoalum