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Baseball is supposed to be a fun game.
And, for a real competitor, winning is usually much more fun than ending up on the short end of the score. Such was the case for the Anderson County baseball team during last Friday's 8-0 win over 30th District rival Spencer County.
Anderson erupted for six runs in the bottom of the sixth to break open a tight game and put to rest a brief two-game losing skid that saw the Bearcats struggle in every area but the pitching mound.
“The best part of the game was the top of the seventh, when I saw lots of smiles on the kids' faces,” said Anderson coach L.W. Barnes. “it was a sigh of relief. Finally, these kids had some fun out there and they could taste a little success. You could see a lot of pressure released right off them and that was good to see.”
Senior left-hander Brandon Eliadis more than did his part, limiting Spencer to two hits – one of which was a bad hop single that eluded Anderson shortstop Mason Baker in the bottom of the first – and only allowing one runner past second base. Eliadis struck out five and walked just one in going the distance.
“He had them off-balance all night,” said Anderson pitching coach Chris Copenhaver. “He had pitched a total of five innings all season and pitched seven tonight. He has recovered from a little bit of a tight arm.”
Eliadis helped his own cause, belting a bases-loaded triple to the right-field corner to make it 7-0 in the sixth inning. Eliadis went 2-for-3 at the plate and also laid down a sacrifice bunt to give the Bearcats a runner at second with no outs in the fifth. Anderson squandered that opportunity, though.
“Brandon had a great game offensively and on the mound,” Barnes said. He took the loss last year at Spencer and he had a little bit of an inner drive to get back that loss he had last year. He was right around the plate all day.”
Eliadis got the Bearcats going with a leadoff single in the first. Courtesy runner John Paul Garmon went to third when Spencer botched a pickoff attempt and the throw ended up in the Anderson bullpen. Garmon came home when Baker singled to center.
Anderson scored another unearned run in the second when Josh Brown reached on an error and came home when Max Crabtree got on due to another Spencer miscue. The Bears committed five on the night.
The Bearcats put things away in the sixth, stringing together five straight hits, capped by Eliadis' triple. “Our guys really executed in the sixth,” Barnes said, “then Brandon got that big hit.”
Anderson got back to .500 on the season with the win, but more importantly, got a big district win. And maybe even more important than that, Barnes saw his kids relaxed.
“It was just good to see the kids smiling,” he said. “That is the first time I have seen that in a long time.”
Anderson 3, Henry Clay 0
The Bearcats prevailed as Conor Cotton went the distance, allowing only three hits as the Bearcats won Saturday in Lexington.
Lucas Durr smacked a double for the Bearcats as they got back over .500 at 6-5. Henry Clay fell to 7-4.
Franklin Co. 6, Anderson Co. 3
Franklin took advantage of some shaky Anderson defense to record just its second win of the season, a 6-3 win over the host Bearcats Thursday night.
“We have been struggling defensively all along,” Barnes said. “Our pitching was good enough to keep us in the game.”
Anderson was officially charged with only two errors, but both ended with runs. Anderson pitching also walked three and hit three batters.
“Franklin County threw a real nice pitcher at us and we didn't do anything offensively,” Barnes said. “We had just four hits.”
Anderson took a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the first as Lucas Durr ripped a two-run single, but the Bearcats could not score again until the seventh.
West Jessamine 8, Anderson Co. 1
West Jessamine pitcher Dakota Greer was nearly perfect against the Bearcats last Tuesday.
Greer gave up just one hit, a swinging bunt by Jake Brown in the third and the Colts took advantage of six Anderson errors to remain unbeaten at 13-0.
Later in the week, West Jessamine dropped a pair of games but Barnes said he believes the Colts are a legitimate Top 10 team statewide.
“He did a good job keeping us off balance,” Barnes said of Greer, who struck out 11 batters.
Brown was Anderson's only base runner through six innings. The Bearcats finally scored when Josh Brown was hit by a pitch to lead off the final inning. He eventually scored on a West Jessamine error.
West Jessamine finally got to Anderson starter Conor Cotton with a pair of runs in the fourth after Cotton had set down the first nine Colt batters. West Jessamine had the strange line of eight runs on just two hits.
“We gave up six unearned runs,” Copenhaver said.
“West Jessamine is real solid,” Barnes said, “but Conor pitched well enough to win.”