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LOUISVILLE -- Anderson County found out why Pleasure Ridge Park is the state's top-ranked team and why Zach Cox is ranked as one of the nation's top 100 prospects.
Cox silenced what had been a group of booming Anderson bats with a no-hitter, then hit a towering home run that put the game out of reach as homestanding PRP defeated Anderson 5-0 in game one of the semi-state series Wednesday night. The series is the first round of the state high school baseball tournament.
"We knew about what kind of team PRP was and they played like the number one team in the state," said Anderson coach L.W. Barnes.
Anderson's only base runner came when Cox hit Shane Mink to lead off the third inning. Cox used a nasty curve ball to strike out 13 Bearcat batters.
But Barnes felt his team played extremely well, trailing just 2-0 going into the bottom of the sixth.
Pleasure Ridge Park, now 34-4, snapped Anderson's eight game winning streak. The Bearcats are now 21-16.
Anderson got out of a first inning jam with an inning-ending double play but PRP got on the board in the bottom of the third when Tennessee signee Zach Osborne doubled off the wall in left field to score Brian Hockman.
Bearcat coach L.W. Barnes had pulled a bit of a surprise when he went with sophomore left-hander Kyle DeLong, who had not pitched since the 30th District final two weeks before, as the game one starter.
DeLong pitched admirably, pitching into the sixth inning. DeLong gave up four runs, three of them earned, but took the loss.
PRPput the game away when Cox went deep to lead off the sixth. The Panthers scored two more runs to make the final much more one-sided than the game really was.
The teams play again Thursday, June 5, at 6:30 p.m. at Pleasure Ridge Park. If Anderson wins that one, the teams will play again Friday at 6:30 p.m. for the deciding game.
Check back for updates on the Bearcat baseball and softball teams in the state tournaments. Updates will be posted shortly after every game ends.
For a complete look at Anderson County in the state baseball and softball tournaments, see the June 11 edition of The Anderson News.