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Paintsville pitcher Connor Fugate delivers a pitch to home plate against Pikeville Monday night in the 15th Region Tournament. Fugate delivered an outstanding performance on the mound. 


One team advanced to the 15th Region championship game. The other team’s season came to an end. 

On paper, there’s a winner and a loser. 

What happened on the field tells another story. 

Pikeville defeated Paintsville in the 15th Region semifinals Monday night when it came to the score of 3-1.

But after the two teams’ performances it’s safe to say there were no losers.

Especially the fans packed in the stands at Stonecrest.

Gutsy performances from Isaac Dixon and Connor Fugate on the mound for their respective teams.

Dylan Thompson’s go-ahead home run in extra innings. Anderson Lauffer’s outstanding game on defense. Bash Ryan coming in as a Freshman and not cracking under the pressure. Both teams played like winners, never giving up and fighting to stay alive.

Both teams put it all on the line and it was a game you hate to see either team lose.

But at the end of the night, it was Pikeville standing tall in a game that went extra innings and had everything you could ask for in a game.

The two teams remained gridlocked at 0-0 until the top of the fourth when Wade Hensley took off for home after a sacrifice fly by Jeb Wilkerson put the Panthers up 1-0.

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Paintsville’s Grayson Peters

It looked like that was going to be the only score of the game as things progressed. It was the only run until the bottom of the seventh.

Issac Duty was pitching in the seventh when he allowed a walk, putting Harris Phelps on base and forcing a change on the mound. Bash Ryan came in and immediately gave up a single to Jonah Porter. AJ James struck out for the second out. Ashton Miller got a walk to load up the bases with two outs. Grayson Peters was facing a 3-0 count when he got hit by a pitch, giving the Tigers a run and tying things up with a chance for the Tigers to walk off a win. Austin Allen wasn’t able to do that despite making contact when he hit a fly ball to send it to extra innings.

Connor Fugate had put down to Pikeville hitters and needed just one more K. That wouldn’t happen however as Fugate hit the pitch count limit, forcing him to retire for the evening and sending in Ashton Miller.

Dylan Thompson was next up for Pikeville and he made the most of the opportunity. Thompson hit his third home run of the season off of Millers pitch to give the Panthers a 3-1 lead.

The Tigers were able to load up the bases again in the bottom of the eighth to try and steal the win away, but it just wasn’t meant to be. James connected on a ground ball, but couldn’t beat the throw to first for the final out.

The Panthers finished off the Tigers season in the 3-1 victory in eight innings. The Tigers season ends at 28-9. Pikeville will face off against Johnson Central in the Regional finals on Wednesday at 6:00 p.m.

Issac Duty got the win for the Panthers pitching 6.1 innings and allowing just one hit and one run while walking eight and striking out 12. Bash Ryan’s 1.2 inning performance saw him give up one hit with two walks and one strikeout.

Connor Fugate ends his high school career going seven and 2/3 innings and giving up four hits and two runs with two walks and 11 strikeouts. Ashton Miller gave up one hit and one run.