BASEBALL: Hawks defeat Panthers

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By John Groth

 The LaRue County senior six cashed in with an early hitting spree and they helped the Hawks put an end to their three-game slide. 

It was a fitting way to cap their final regular-season home game.

Seniors Kyle Meredith, Slade Owens, Jesse Johnson and Steven Carpenter connected on four consecutive two-out first-inning hits which led to two runs and propelled the Hawks to a 4-1 victory over the Elizabethtown Panthers on May 15.

Six of LaRue County's seven starting seniors had at least one hit and they totaled all but one of the Hawks’ nine hits to make sure the Hawks (25-8) stopped their longest losing skid this season. Owens went 2-for-2 with two runs scored and an RBI and Sheeran finished with two hits and an RBI. Meredith added a triple and scored a run, Carpenter had an RBI single and Trevor Skaggs and Johnson each had a hit.

“We were a little emotional coming off three losses and this being senior night, we just wanted to come out and put forward a good effort and show that we can play and just come out here with a 'W' on senior night,” Sheeran said. “That's what we had to do.”

LaRue County capitalized on some hot early bats before being hemmed in the final six innings against the Panthers (12-20). It marked the Hawks' second win this season against Elizabethtown and third straight against the Panthers overall.

Thanks to that first inning, they jumped out to an early lead and held on the rest of the way.

After the first two LaRue County batters grounded out against Elizabethtown senior Tyler Brandenburg, the Hawks started their quick hitting barrage. Meredith tripled to right-center field and he scored on Owens' single. Johnson followed with a single to center to put runners on first and second before Carpenter came through with an RBI single to give LaRue County a 2-0 lead.

“We were ready to play and hit the ball well. We had two or three good hits. I mean, their pitcher did a good job of keeping us off balance, too,” Owens said. “I don't want to call it luck, we just happened to throw three hits in a row and get us to score some runs.”

Elizabethtown cut the deficit in half on junior Cannon Pender's RBI single in the second inning.

But LaRue County added another run in the third when Owens scored off a two-out error and the Hawks added another insurance run on Sheeran's RBI single in the sixth to score freshman courtesy-runner Robert Thompson.

Junior Cole Hughes (8-0) kept the Panthers off the mark, limiting them to four hits - one each by junior Garrett Morgan, eighth-grader Hunter Sullivan, Pender and Brandenburg.

He also got out of a handful of jams - including runners on first and third with two outs in the second inning with a flyout and runners on first and second in the fifth and runners on first and third in the seventh with groundouts.

Hughes struck out five and walked four. But Elizabethtown coach Don Pitts acknowledged he's a crafty one.

“He's going to keep you off balance. When you can throw multiple pitches for strikes like he can, that usually equals a really good pitcher at any level,” Pitts said. “He did a really good job tonight and he kept us off balance.”