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Danville team sweeps Mudcats for tourney title

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Brown has big day against Louisville team

By John Herndon

Failure to take advantage of opportunities meant the Central Kentucky Mudcats' 16-and-under baseball team finished second in its own season-ending tournament Sunday evening.

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The Morse Mustangs defeated the Mudcats, 9-3 to force a winner-take-all championship game in the double-elimination tournament, then outlasted the Mudcats 5-4 in the second game.

In the final, the Mudcats scratched out 11 hits, but stranded countless runners in scoring position to squander a golden opportunity to claim victory over one of the top summer baseball programs in Kentucky.

“I'm still not sure what we were doing sometimes at the plate or on the bases,” Mudcats' coach Chris Copenhaver said. “We had every opportunity to win this game and more than likely by three or four runs.

Mason Baker, Chris Sea, Mason Hardin and Brett Thompson all had big days at the plate – statistics were not available – but the Mudcats were unable to get the ball in the gap or to drop in with two outs.

The Mustangs scored three in the top of the first, but the Mudcats battled back to tie things in the bottom of the fifth. The Danville team pushed the winning run across in the top of the sixth, and final, inning.

“This was very frustrating, especially with it being the last game of the summer, but I was very proud to see the boys respond to losing that first game the way they did,” Copenhaver said. “They put it all on the line and came up a little short.”

In the previous game, the Mustangs took advantage of six Mudcat errors, five of them in the final two innings, to claim a 9-3 victory in a game that went seven innings.

Tanner Walker was the hard luck pitcher, going 5.1 innings before the defense collapsed. The Mudcats went into the sixth inning with a 2-1 lead before everything fell apart.

“This was a tough one because the Mustangs had to beat us twice and we had them on the ropes,” Copenhaver said. “They had a very good pitcher and we had scored some runs on them.”

Brown belted a solo home run to highlight the Mudcat attack.

“I was a little disappointed that our defense let us down again, but I was happy to see that they kept competing against one of the best pitchers they faced all summer,” Copenhaver said.

In the first game Sunday, the Mudcats rallied to beat the Louisville Wolves-Navy, 7-6. Wesley Jorette got the win in relief of Mason Baker, who was solid for five innings, according to Copenhaver.

Brown got the big hit, a two-out, bases-loaded double that put the Mudcats up 7-6.

Jorette shut the Wolves down in the seventh to seal things.

In Thursday's tournament opener, the Mudcats defeated the Louisville Wolves-Gray, 4-1 behind a stellar pitching performance from Brown.

The Anderson County junior-to-be went seven innings, giving up just two hits and a walk while striking out 11. “This was probably the best game I have ever seen him pitch,” Copenhaver said. “He was in complete control the entire time.”

Brown got the complete game despite throwing only 79 pitches. At the plate, Brown went 1-for-2 with a double, two walks, two stolen bases and driving in two.

“Talk about having a good day at the ballpark, those stats for someone in one game are like video game stats,” Copenhaver said.

Even with the summer season ending with two losses, Copenhaver said the Mudcats made big strides, which should show up for the Anderson County High School team next spring.

“We finished up 12-11-1 on the summer and actually with the schedule I put them against that record is fantastic,” Copenhaver said.

 

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