HARROGATE, TN – The Tigers season has ended. The top team in the mountains, the Knox Central Panthers, slapped the Tigers 12-2 to remove Clay from the 13th regional tournament at Lincoln Memorial University on Monday afternoon. Knox would score six runs in the 3rd inning to propel past Clay County, moving on to face Corbin in the semi-finals.
Knox Central’s Thomas Jackson shut Clay down for the first three innings. He would hold the Tigers to two of their six total hits, while striking out one. He was relieved by Evan Landrum, a junior outfielder who struck out two Tigers on the day. Clay was led offensively by their own Thomas Jackson, who collected two hits and one RBI.
The Tigers two runs came in the 4th inning, as Jackson would double on a hard ground ball to left field, scoring senior Andrew Saylor. Austin Smith would follow that act with a deep fly ball to right field, scoring courtesy runner Landon Hensley. The other Tigers who gathered hits were Colby Howard, Saylor, and Noah Smith, with one apiece.
Pitching wise, Clay deployed a four-man unit. Noah Smith would take the loss, while he was relieved by Colby Howard, John Gilbert, and Dalen Couch. Smith allowed four hits and six runs, striking out one batter. Howard gave up three hits, Gilbert allowed one, and Couch allowed one as well.
The Tigers now move on to a 2020 season filled with questions, as senior leadership graduates forcing new Tigers to step up and play bigger roles. Coach Jason Smith knows he has talent in his underclassmen, but it’s up to them whether they want to bring the region title home to Clay County, a place it hasn’t been since 2011.
Batting – Colby Howard (1-3); Andrew Saylor (1-2); Thomas Jackson (2-2); Noah Smith (1-2); Austin Smith (1-2). Pitching – Noah Smith (L) 2.0 IP, 4 hits, 6 runs, 1 K; Colby Howard 1.0 IP, 3 hits, 4 runs; John Gilbert 1.1 IP, 1 hit, 2 runs; Dalen Couch 1 hit.