Jaxon Watts slides into home

Paintsville’s Jaxon Watts slides into home as Johnson Central’s Blake Gamble hurdles Watts to attempt to make a catch. The Tigers were able to pick up a 5-2 win over the Golden Eagles to advance to the Whitaker Bank/KHSAA State Baseball Tournament.

Paintsville looked to repeat its showing in the 57th District championship Saturday afternoon against Johnson Central in the 15th Region championship game.

The Tigers did just that picking up a 5-2 win over the Golden Eagles.

Paintsville got things going early in the game with four straight singles. Tanner Smith got things started for the Tigers and was first to hit a single. John Walker Phelps followed with a single. Seth Williams drove home the game’s first run with an RBI single to score Smith. Ben Daniels followed the Williams single with an RBI single of his own to score Phelps and to give the Tigers an early 2-0 lead after the first half inning of play.

After the string of Paintsville singles in the top of the first, the Golden Eagles were retired in order.

Ryan Sartin-Slone connects for a hit

Johnson Central’s Ryan Sartin-Slone connects for a hit Saturday afternoon against Paintsville.

Johnson Central started off slow in the bottom of the first, Riley Preece was first up to the plate, Preece hit a single to get on base for the Golden Eagles but, was left stranded after a string of fly outs by the Golden Eagles.

Heading into the top of the second the Golden Eagles stepped up on defense and forced the Tigers to go three up and three down, putting a quick end to the Tigers offense.

The Golden Eagles didn’t have much luck in the bottom of the second. Grant Davis was able to reach first after an error by the Tigers, but the rest of the Johnson Central line-up didn’t have as much luck.

The defensive bout continued until the bottom of the third when Blake Delong was able to connect for a home run to finally get Johnson Central on the board, 2-1.

Paintsville fired back in the top of the fourth, though. Matt Baldwin was first on base for the Tigers as he drew a walk. Baldwin didn’t stay on the base long as Jonathan McKenzie was able to knock one out of the park for a two run homer. After McKenzie’s home run the Tigers extended the lead to 4-1.

The Tigers were fired up after the home run and made quick work of the Golden Eagles on defense in the bottom half of the inning. 

Jake Hyden looks up to the official for the call

Paintsville’s Jake Hyden looks up to the official for the call Friday night against Lawrence County.

In the bottom of the fifth, the Golden Eagles started to get their bats going once again. Weston May was first up to the plate for Johnson Central. May was put on base with a walk. Preece followed that up with another walk to reach first and put two Golden Eagles on base. Ryan Sartin-Slone followed up the walks with a bunt and was able to reach first base for a bunt single.

With the bases loaded, Delong stepped back up to the plate following his home run in the bottom of the third. Delong hit a pop fly to centerfield for an out, but not before May was able to tag-up and make it home for another Johnson Central score. After the bottom of the fifth, the Tigers were leading the Golden Eagles 4-2.

In the top of the sixth, the Tigers were able to close out the game on the Golden Eagles. Baldwin was hitting leadoff for Paintsville in the sixth and blasted a double. Jaxon Watts came on to run for Baldwin. After Baldwin’s double, the Tigers found themselves with two quick outs at the plate. Jake Hyden stepped up for the Tigers with two outs and was able to come up with an RBI double as Watts crossed the plate for the Tigers’ final score. That pushed the Paintsville lead to 5-2.

The bottom of the sixth wasn’t promising for the Golden Eagles. After two quick outs, Johnson Central’s back was against the wall and the Golden Eagles weren’t able to come up with any runs in the sixth or seventh innings.

When the dust settled, the Tigers repeated of the outcome of the 57th District championship. Paintsville picked up a 5-2 win over the Golden Eagles to win the 15th Region championship and advanced to the Whitaker Bank/KHSAA State Baseball Tournament. The Tigers will face Christian County Friday afternoon at 1:30 p.m. at Whitaker Bank Park in Lexington.

15th Region semifinals

Paintsville 3,

Lawrence County 2

It was anybody’s game as the Paintsville Tigers rolled on to a 3-2 victory over the Lawrence County Bulldogs late Friday night in the 15th Region semifinals..

Paintsville was able to pull out to a 2-0 lead at the top of the fourth inning, but Lawrence County went to work to tie things up by the bottom of the fifth at 2-2. 

Jake Hyden got things rolling in the top of the seventh by drawing a walk to first base. Mason Moore was up next and laid down a sacrifice hit to the Larwrence County’s pitcher; Hyden advance to second base on the play. Tanner Smith was up next and he too received a walk, Hyden remained at second. John Walker Phelps singled on a hard grounder down the first-base line, which allowed Hyden to score and put Smith in scoring position. 

Paintsville held a 3-2 with standout Seth Williams up next at bat. Williams struck out swinging, giving Lawrence County the third out of the inning and saving the score from getting worse.

Mason Moore came in to relieve Smith in the fifth inning and was able to close out the bottom of the seventh striking out the first batter. Lawrence County’s Brad Parks hot a fly ball out to Phelps, who caught it for the second out. Austin Roe got on first base via walk. Jackson Feltner was up next and hit a fly ball to centerfield. Smith made the big catch to save the game for the Tigers, giving them the third and final out of the game and a spot in the 15th Region championship game against rival Johnson Central.

The game got underway later than expected due to the rain and wasn’t over until midnight. That didn’t  give Paintsville a lot of time as the championship game had a 1:00 p.m. start time the following afternoon.

Johnson Central 6,

Pikeville 0

Johnson Central played a strong game Friday evening shutting out the Pikeville Panthers en route to a 6-0 victory setting the table for a 15th Region chamionship showdown against crosstown rival Johnson Central.

Johnson Central was able to take advantage of good hitting early and often as the Golden Eagles jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first with Riley Preece scoring.

In the top of the third, Johnson Central extended its lead to 3-0. Ryan Sartin-Sloine scored off a passed ball; Blake Delong scored the same way on the following play.

Sartin-Slone had a big game. He scored the only run of the fourth inning. Sartin-Slone scored his second of the game thus far when Hunter McCloud hit a singled.

Now up 4-0, the top of the sixth inning saw Johnson Central put up two more runs and put the game out of reach for the Panthers. Cody Rice singled and Preece followed with singles. Rice was able to steal second and third base as well. Preece’s hit allowed Rice to score to push the lead to 5-0. Sartin-Slone came in next to bat and provided the sac bunt to allow Preece to advance to second. Delong was up next to the plate and while at bat, Preece stole third, and then made it home before Delong got the walk. This put Johnson Central up 6-0 going into the bottom of the sixth inning.

Pikeville was unable to mount a late game charge and would have to settle for a 6-0 final.

With the loss, Pikevilled ended its season with a 19-12 record.

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