It was off to sunny Florida for the LaRue County High School baseball team as they participate in the Florida Beach Bash all this week.
LaRue will play against a field of mostly Kentucky teams. They dropped their first game Sunday against Lexington Lafayette 8-2.
“We used five of our pitchers and did it really to see what some of the guys looked like on the mound while we were down here and learned a lot about them,” Coach Chris Price said.
Freshman Slade Owens took the hill first for LaRue, throwing two and a third innings. Owens gave up four runs on three hits with one strikeout and three walks. Only two of those runs were earned.
Relief pitcher Scott Cox, a senior, threw one and two-thirds innings striking out three and allowing no runs as did senior Christian Seymour.
“When our pitchers get ahead in the count and throw more strikes than balls, we usually do pretty good as Scott and Christian did,” Price said.
Lucas Chaudoin was the fifth pitcher, striking out one, giving up only one hit with one earned run.
The Hawks scored their two runs on a double by freshman Jessie Johnson. Contributing were Tyler Hornback with a smashing triple and Seymour.
“We didn’t get aggressive hitting until the fourth inning. After the fourth, we got a little more aggressive, and scored our runs,” Price said.
Lexington Lafayette threw its ace who was backed by a solid defensive effort.
Fall to Fort Walton
LaRue was disappointed in the bottom of the seventh by a stubborn Fort Walton Beach team 7-6 at the Florida Beach Bash Monday.
The Hawks took an early 3-0 lead with great hitting by Hornback, Seymour and Chelf to set the pace for what was looking to be LaRue-style routing.
Then, Fort Walton scored three in the bottom of the sixth tying the game.
LaRue came to the plate in the top of the seventh and Owens hit a ripping shot into left scoring two go-ahead runners.
With Fort Walton’s bats still simmering, they accrued three more in the bottom of the seventh giving LaRue its second loss at the Bash.
“We didn’t run as much today as we normally do,” Price said, “their catcher throws a 1.9, but we did good hitting behind the runner. Our kids played real hard and they’re having fun.
We did a good job laying down the bunt, advancing runners and even got in a squeeze play.”
Tomorrow, LaRue faces Jeffersontown. J-town has a 1-1 record at the Bash and came into the tournament 1-1.
It was the season opener and LaRue took it seriously defeating Caverna 11-1 under the mercy rule last Tuesday night at LaRue County High School.
The Hawks jumped out to an early 6-0 lead after the first inning and never looked back.
LaRue scored four more runs in the fourth before their final run in the fifth.
“We did an awesome job of hitting behind the runners, stealing bases and thought we hit the ball rather well,” Price said. “It was a good outing for our guys and I am really happy.”
LaRue’s Lane Smith got the victory on the mound allowing only three hits, striking out four and walking two. Smith had a Sports Center moment in the fifth picking off a dazing Caverna runner.
“We’ve been working on his pickoff move in the preseason,” Price said, “and he executed it well.”
Caverna’s only run came in the top of the fifth off an uncaught third strike call that allowed a runner from second to score. There was no definite ruling on whether it was an earned or unearned run because of the way the batter reached versus the reason the runner scored. Unofficially, it was a shutout effort for Smith.
“We’re going to win games when our pitcher throws three strikes to every one ball like Lane did tonight,” Price said. “He threw 40 strikes and 13 balls.”
Justin Chelf and Owens each had a triple and singles by Hornback, Jay Eastridge, Max McCubbin, Travis Crim and Smith set up the Hawks’ style of aggressive baseball with six stolen bases distributed by every player in the lineup but three.