The Johnson Central Golden Eagles improved their record to 26-5 on the season as they won a thriller over the Rams of Raceland Monday night 6-5 in extra innings. This is the last week of the regular season before district play starts.
It looked like business as usual for Johnson Central as the Golden Eagles held the Rams scoreless to start the game. Ryley Preece reached first on an infield single, but he was picked off by the Rams starting pitcher Kirk Pence.
Golden Eagle starting pitcher Blake Delong singled to right field, and he would be driven in by Hunter McCloud’s two-run homer to quickly make it 2-0.
Delong found himself in a little trouble to start the second inning. With the bases loaded, he walked in a run to cut the Johnson Central lead to 2-1. However, he battled back and escaped with just the one run scored and pitched out of the jam.
Pence kept the Golden Eagle hitters at bay the next two innings.
Raceland tied the game in the top half of the fourth as a runner scored on a wild pitch from Delong and took the lead later in the inning on a throwing error by Johnson Central’s defense.
Raceland led 3-2 going into the bottom half of the fourth.
The Golden Eagles struck when, with the bases loaded, No. 8 hitter Connor LeMaster stepped to the plate and crushed a three-run double that got by the right fielder and went to the wall. Johnson Central scored three runs in the bottom half of the inning and led 5-3 going into the fifth.
The error bug plagued Johnson Central nearly all night. Delong was be replaced on the mound by Ryan Sartin-Slone after pitching four complete innings, but Raceland cut into the lead by scoring on another wild pitch making it a 5-4 ballgame.
The Rams tied the game just moments later as on a ground ball hit to short, Preece made an error on the throw to first allowing the tying run to score.
Both teams had opportunities to take win the game before it went into extra’s, but they would get runner’s in scoring position only to leave them stranded.
In the bottom half of the sixth, relief pitcher Grant Davis in scoring position, Johnson Central coach Shawn Hall gave Cody Rice the go ahead to bunt with two outs trying to make something happen, but it ultimately failed.
Raceland had an opportunity to end the game in the top of the eighth, but let the winning run stranded on second base. Finally, in the bottom of the 10th inning the Golden Eagles scored the go ahead and winning run.
As mentioned, this is the last week for the regular season in the 15th Region.
District Tournament play will begin next week. Johnson Central will be the heavy favorite to win their district crown along with the 15th region title. The Golden Eagles will play their final home game Wednesday against Prestonsburg. That game is slated for a 6:00 pm start