First Pitch: 11:00 AM (Irvine, KY)
Fourteenth-Regional Baseball Tournament
Bobcats (14-20) to play Letcher Central (20-16) Round I
Either Estill or Perry Awaits Winner
Breathitt County went into June 2 hoping to get a favorable draw, as District 55’s Champion, in the upcoming 14th-Region high school baseball tournament. So far, so good; or one would suppose.
First of all, there are no teams left standing incapable of beating your favorite team this time of year. Anyone you get will be a challenge. However, there are teams your team matches up with better than others.
One of Breathitt's assistant managers, Ryan Cox, told the Times-Voice, "We are excited with our bracket and being an overall 1-seed. Now we have to go out and execute."
We also caught up with Alex Hamilton, the head manager of the Bobcats. Hamilton told the digital newspaper, “Letcher is a tough, tough team. They dropped the 53rd-District title game to Knott County Central, 9-3, and the Patriots are one of the region’s marquee ball clubs. However, all things considered, we match up pretty well with Letcher, and they with us, so it should be a riveting opener this Saturday in Irvine.”
These two teams have met this season. Back on May 18, the Bobcats were able to beat Letcher County Central, in Whitesburg, 7-4. The last time the two teams met, Andrew Combs (So.) pitched a complete game, scattering 5 hits and allowing a single earned run over his 113 pitches. Combs also knocked in 3-runs to aid his own cause.
Dylan Pike (Jr.) pitched 5 and 1/3rd innings for the Cougars, allowing 2-hits and only a single earned run on Letcher's behalf. The Bobcats tacked on 6 additional runs, 4 of which were earned, on Preston Helle (Jr.) when Helle came on in relief.
Jonah Little (So.) may be the staff’s “Ace.” Little went 5-1 on the year with an ERA of 2.67, allowing 8 ERs in 9-appearances with 21-Ks in 21-innings pitched. The Cougars haven’t reported statistics to the KHSAA website in 5-games, dating back to May 24th’s game with Powell County, so he likely has some presently unknown statistics bearing on his season’s “body of work.”
Among the Cougars’ impressive team performances this year were two impressive victories and a “moral victory.” The Cougars beat Knott County Central on May 11 at home, 2-0. The other impressive win came against Powell County in Stanton, 11-5, on May 24. The “moral victory” was Letcher’s narrowly losing to George Rogers Clark, 9-8, in Winchester on May 8. The Cougars were District 53 Runners-up.
On the other half of Breathitt’s bracket, Perry County Central (20-18), 54th-District Runners-up, play the 56th-District Champions, Estill Engineers (18-12). Estill, hosting the Regionals this year, will certainly draw a big crowd. This game will also prove to be a real “testy” challenge for both squads.
Perry beat Estill, 10-6, way back on April 3rd. The two teams haven’t played since. This game and that one don’t figure to be reasonable facsimiles of the other. A ton of water has run under both bridges since then.
Estill tragically lost its head coach during the regular season. Blake Crowe, a former star player at Estill County High School, passed when a flag pole outside the Crowe’s home fell onto an electric line sitting on wet ground which electrocuted Coach Crowe. Blake Crowe’s father, Estill’s former skipper Brian Crowe, came out of retirement to fill the vacancy caused by this freakish occurrence.
Get on down to Irvine, Kentucky for the Regional action and cheer on our Bobcats. Good luck fellows, from your locally run, hometown newspaper of legal record since 1888, the Jackson-Breathitt County Times-Voice.