Seth Williams was already pitching a good game for the Wildcats last week against Williamstown.
In five complete innings of work, he coughed up just five hits, struckout nine and allowed no walks in the first round of the North Central Kentucky Conference tournament.
But Aaron McClish had a good day, too. McClish, was 4-4 at the plate, including a grand slam for extra flavor.
That grand slam, a no-doubt shot to left field, came as part of a seven-run fourth inning that gave the Cats an 11-0 lead.
James Pollard, Landon New and Williams had two hits apiece. Pollard scored two runs and Stephen Archer had two RBIs on one hit and two walks. Archer, who reached on an error in his first at-bat, reached base safely in all four of his plate appearances.
The rest of the tournament was to be played at Williamstown on Saturday, but rain postponed the games.
“We played well against a weaker opponent,” coach Zak Yates said. “Seth pitched well. He got ahead in the count all night and stayed in control. We got some big hits and took advantage of their mistakes. Aaron’s home run was the nail in the coffin.”
Fairdale 4 HCHS 3
The Wildcats got a strong pitching performance from McClish who had a one-hitter going into the top of the seventh but allowed Fairdale to score runs in the final inning to erase a 2-0 lead.
The fateful inning started when McClish walked the leadoff batter. McClish, who struck out four and walked four, was relieved by Dakota Estes. The next batter reached on an error. The third hitter singled, but because of errors, both base runners scored and the batter advanced to third base. A passed ball allowed another run.
Estes struck out the next batter, but the following Bulldog singled and advanced on an error. A ground out to second advanced the runner to third and he came home on a two-out single. The Cats got the final out of the inning on a fly ball to centerfield but the damage was done.
A 2-0 lead had turned into a 4-2 deficit.
The Cats tried to rally in the bottom of the seventh. McClish reached when his third strike hit the dirt and the catcher’s throw to first was misplayed. He advanced to second when Pollard drew a walk. Bodie Clark was brought in to pinch run for Pollard. Stephen Archer then laid down a perfect bunt. The pitcher fielded the ball and saw he had no chance to get Archer at first, but turned and fired to third to get McClish.
With runners on first and second, and one out, Williams singled. Clark rounded third and headed for home. The throw did not get Clark but the catcher threw to third and Archer was out trying to advance from first. The Wildcats comeback fell short with a strikeout to end the game.
The Cats scored their first two runs in the second inning when Estes led off with a double and advanced to third on an error. Brad West followed with a sacrifice fly to centerfield. After a ground out Landon New singled with two outs. Dylan Adams followed with a double to score New.
Coach Zak Yates was sorry to see McClish’s fine pitching performance wasted.
“Aaron was throwing a one-hitter but was tiring,” he said. “I wanted to give him a chance to finish it but it didn’t work out. Some plays that have to be made weren’t made.
“When you let teams hang around it magnifies everything you do and it gives you no margin for error. The offensive and defensive miscues hurt us and were the difference in the game. I thought we were making some progress until the last couple of weeks. It’s going to be a toss up situation in the first round of the district if we don’t change. I hate see all the sacrifices that have been made go for naught. We aren’t giving up but we have to try to make the best of it and find the right lineup that gives us the best chance.”
HCHS 4 Trimble 3
The Cats had a hard time getting their bats going against Trimble but a strong pitching performance by Miles kept the Cats close until the offense woke up in the final inning.
Trimble County went up 2-0 in the third inning after Miles retired six straight batters. The Raiders started with a single and double, putting runners on second and third with no outs. The next batter hit a hard grounder to first where Stephen Archer fielded the ball, stepped on first and fired to home. The runner just beat the throw to score the game’s first run. The second run came on a ground-out that scored a runner.
The Cats got a run back in the fourth. Archer led off with a walk and advanced to second on a passed ball. Williams followed with a base hit, putting runners on first and third. Estes followed with an RBI groundout to pull the Cats within one.
The Cats tied it in the fifth. Steverson doubled to lead off the inning. With one out, a pitch hit Adams to put runners on first and second. With two outs, Pollard was also hit to load the bases. Stephen Archer came up to bat next and was able to draw a walk on a full count to score Steverson.
Trimble regained the lead in the top of the seventh. With the bases loaded and one out the Raiders were able to pull off a successful suicide squeeze play, which gave the momentum back to them.
But the Cats weren’t going down without a fight on senior day and in the end it was senior captain Seth Williams who had the big hit.
The Cats started the rally with a one-out walk to Adams. McClish followed with a single, putting runners on first and second. Pollard drew a walk to load the bases. Archer then got his second RBI of the game without the benefit of a hit when he was hit by a pitch that forced in Adams from third.
With one out and the bases still loaded, Trimble had to bring in the outfield to try and take away the sacrifice fly opportunity. Williams took advantage of the positions, hitting a long fly ball to left that fell safely for the game-winning hit.
Yates saw the game as a fortunate win for the Cats.
“We were lucky to win against Trimble but it’s great to win a game when you’re down one with one out in the bottom of the seventh,” he said. “It was a great win for the seniors. I was proud of Alex’s pitching performance and Seth’s game-winning hit.
“Trimble is a well-coached team but if we play like we can, that game shouldn’t be that close. I’m not knocking Trimble County but we are better than we played in this game.”