While their pitching and defense look pretty good in the season’s opening week, it’s clear the Harlan County Black Bears have a long way to go in hitting and running the bases.
Harlan County was limited to six hits by Corbin junior Cole Brock, who pitched a complete game as the Hounds finally broke through in the eighth inning for a 3-0 win. Brock struck out 12 and walked only two.
“It’s normal at this point of the season (for the pitching to be ahead of hitting) because you’re not seeing as much live pitching,” said Corbin coach Cody Philpot. “They had great pitching, and Cole Brock did a whale of a job keeping his pitch count down to be able to go eight innings. He’s always had good stuff, but he went right at batters tonight, and that allowed him to finish.”
Jared Sizemore and Caleb Carmical were just as good for the Bears, shutting down the Hounds through seven innings. Corbin broke through in the eighth when Grant Gibson led off with a single past shortstop. Cameron Nease took over on the mound at that point and got Michael May on a ground out and had Matty Hart down 0-2 before surrendering a double. Conner Hicks was walked intentionally to load the bases. Noah Taylor hit a grounder to shortstop Sean Johnson and reached on a fielder’s choice as Johnson was unable to get Gibson at the plate. Chase Estep added two big insurance runs with a single to right.
“We’re just not making adjustments at the plate,” said Harlan County assistant coach Drew Chamberlain. “Their guy lived on the outside corner, but we didn’t adjust. We have to be able to execute and put the ball in play. We struck out way too much. If we put the ball in play and put a little pressure on them it could have been a different game.
Brendan Rutherford and Dylan Cornett, the top two hitters in the HCHS lineup, each had two singles. Johnson and Nease had one single each.
Estep led Corbin with two singles. Hart added a double. Gibson and Peyton Buford contributed one single each.
Sizemore struck out seven and walked none as he allowed only one hit in four innings. Carmical allowed two hits in three innings with two strikeouts and no walks.
Corbin threatened in the third inning when Hart was safe on a throwing error, then took second on another throwing error after Sizemore appeared to have him picked off. Hart stole third when Conner Hicks struck out but was left stranded when Sizemore got Taylor to ground weakly back to the mound.
HCHS ran its way out of a scoring opportunity in the bottom of the third that could have won the game in regulation. Trey Early led off with a walk, then advanced to third on a wild pitch followed by a ground out by Carmical. It looked like Early was going to score when Brock’s pitch bounced past Taylor, but he was cut down at the plate. Rutherford followed with a single to right, then pinch runner Benjamin Lewis moved to second on a wild pitch. Lewis tried to score on Cornett’s infield hit but was thrown out by first baseman Peyton Buford.
Harlan County (0-2) returns to action Thursday at home against Barbourville. Corbin (1-0) travels to Lincoln County on Friday.
Corbin* 000* 000* 03* — 3 5 0
Harlan County* 000* 000* 00* — 0 6 2
Brock and Taylor; Sizemore, Carmical (5), C. Nease (8) and Rutherford. WP — Brock (1-0). LP — Carmical (0-1).
Reach John Henson at 606-909-4134