By Les Dixon / Sports Editor
LEXINGTON — A three-run first inning led to Knox Central’s eighth loss of the season, as Clay County managed to pick up a 7-3 win over the Panthers.
Knox Central had defeated the Tigers just last week, 7-5, but couldn’t get back in the two teams’ second meeting after falling behind 3-0.
“It was a good game, but it was also a tough loss at the same time,” Knox Central coach Brandon Hillard said. “We faced Clay County’s No. 1 pitcher and he had tossed a good game.
“If we could have got out of the first inning without allowing any runs, I believe we would have been OK,” he added. “We had a chance to, but then we fell behind 3-0 and it was tough to come back.”
Despite seeing his team fall, Hillard said there were positives that came out of the loss.
“I’m proud of the boys,” he admitted. “The last time we played them, we won because we played errorless ball, this time around we didn’t. The good thing is we’re going to get better and we know that. We had good at-bats and that’s something I was pleased with.
“Fielding-wise, we need to continue to get better,” he added. “I thought we did a good job staying in the game.”
He also liked that his team was able to play at Whitaker Bank, which is where the state tournament is played.
“Overall, it was an enjoyable trip,” he said. “That’s the whole reason we scheduled this — to let the kids experience playing there and then them wanting to get back there to play.
“We’re growing as a team,” he added. “And we’re getting better as a team.”
Knox Central will be back in action today at Middlesboro against Tri-County North, Ohio at 4 p.m.