Leading by two runs, the Harlan Green Dragons scored three times in the sixth inning to secure a 6-1 victory over the Pineville Mountain Lions on Tuesday.
“We’re making strides each game. At the beginning of the year, we were bottom of the bottom with guys not knowing how to catch a fly ball and not knowing how to field a ground ball,” said Pineville coach Chris Murphy. “A lot of that has to do with our guys playing three sports a year. We haven’t had time to get work in.
“We’re finally getting the work in, and now we’re starting to make plays. We just got that one inning right now. Usually it’s the fourth inning, but tonight it was the sixth inning that we give up a run here and a run there. It turns into three and it gets out of reach for us. If we can get that inning knocked away we’ll be right in the ball games.”
The Mountain Lions recorded three hits during the game with several runners reaching on errors. Tyler Givens led the way going 2-for-3 with one RBI. Jalen Byrd scored the team’s lone run in the bottom of the fourth. Will Adams went 1-for-3 on the night.
Byrd had an impressive game on the mound. He allowed six hits, with three coming in the sixth inning. He walked seven betters and tallied a couple of strikeouts.
“Jalen did a great job tonight. He threw strikes and made them hit the ball,” said Murphy. “For five innings, our defense played great backing him up and making plays for him.”
“That’s all I told him to do. I said Jalen…I need you to throw strikes, make them put it in play and let our defense make plays. He did exactly what I asked him tonight. For him to pitch that way, it was great to see for the future of our season. He’s our number two, and he did a great job tonight putting strikes across the plate.”
Caleb Hogue paced the Dragons, going 3-for-4 with one walk. Austin Wilson went 2-for-3 at the plate. One the mound, Wilson struck out six batters and only allowed three hits.
Harlan jumped out to a 1-0 lead at the top of the first. After a silent second inning from both teams, the Dragons added two more runs in the third.
After getting on base with a single, Hogue stole second and third base. He scored on a fielding error to increase the Harlan lead to 2-0.
An RBI single from Wilson brought Antonio Roman home to give the Dragons a 3-0 lead heading into the bottom of third. Pineville couldn’t get anything going in the third and exited the inning scoreless.
The Mountain Lions cut into the lead with a run from Byrd in the fourth inning. After reaching first, he advanced to third on a single to right field from Adams. He scored on an RBI single from Givens to decrease the deficit to 3-1.
Harlan put the game out of reach in the sixth inning. The Dragons tallied three runs to jump ahead 6-1. Ethan Mortan scored on a RBI double from Hogue. Tyler Carmichael crossed home plate on an Andrew Saylor RBI. A single from Nick Jarvis brought Hogue home for the final run of the game.
Pineville (1-10) will travel to Jackson County (6-0) on Thursday. In their previous encounter, the Generals defeated the Mountain Lions, 15-0 in five innings.
Harlan (7-5) will host Lynn Camp (3-6) on April 5. The Green Dragons defeated the Wildcats 8-7 on March 12.
Reach Anthony Cloud at 606-302-9090 or on Twitter @AnthonyCloudMDN