Owen wins put Cats in chase for top seed

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Win over Carroll on Tuesday could guarentee top seed for tournament

By Greg Woods



The Henry County baseball Cats swept a doubleheader against Owen County last week, putting them in position to take the No. 1 seed heading into the district tournament later this month.

The wins gave the Cats their sixth and seventh consecutive victories and left them with a 7-0 record in district play with one game to go at Carroll County (played last night). A win in that game guarantees the Cats the top seed in the district tournament. The Cats could still get the top seed with a loss if Carroll does not win the rest of their district games.

In the first game of the double header the Cats jumped on Owen County for 10 runs in the bottom of the first and cruised to a 12-run victory.

After a scoreless opening inning for Owen, Henry County came to the plate. Landon New reached on a walk to start the inning and eventually scored two runs in the inning. New would reach base in all eight of his at-bats in the doubleheader.

The big blows in the inning came from James Pollard who had a 3-run homer to left field and Aaron McClish, who as the starting pitcher, helped his own cause with a grand slam to finish the scoring in the inning.

Pollard also hit a two-run homer in the fourth. Seth Williams also scored a run in the inning when New grounded to third and reached on an error by the Rebel third baseman.

The Rebels managed a run in the top of the fifth before the game was stopped on the 10-run rule.

McClish and Pollard finished the game with five RBIs apiece. McClish went the distance for the Cats on the mound.

In the second game of the doubleheader, New, McClish and Pollard continued providing the bulk of the offense.

New went 3-4, reached on an error and scored four runs, all while providing one RBI.

McClish had three more RBIs for a total of eight on the night. He also scored two runs.

Pollard added two more RBIs for a total of seven in the two games.

Stephen Archer also had two RBIs on a sacrifice fly and sacrifice groundout.

Dylan Adams reached base three times and scored twice for the Cats.

Alex Miles pitched a two-hit shut out for the Cats.

Coach Zak Yates is pleased with the progress of his team.

“My players have bought into the system of throwing strikes and making plays and taking advantage of our opponents mistakes,” he said. “That is how we have been successful the past few weeks.

“One of the big things is that we are hitting the ball one through nine and when you do that, you are going to be successful. Leadership wise, the past couple of weeks a couple of guys have stepped up and said ‘look we are going to make this a memorable season’. Owen County is a better team than what they showed. Some of that has to do with how we played.

“Even though things are going well right now, things are not always going to be easy. There will be ups and downs the rest of the year. It’s how we respond to the downs that will make our season.”

HCHS 6, Walton 3

The visiting Wildcats broke open a tie game with three runs in the top of the seventh and then relied on McClish to close the game and seal the win.

The big inning started with a McClish single. James Pollard sacrificed him to second. Archer followed and drew a walk putting runners on first and second with one out. Seth Williams had an RBI single to score McClish. Archer advanced to third on the single, then scored on a passed ball during the next at-bat.

Alex Miles, who had come on in relief of Dakota Estes who started the game in the sixth inning, singled to score Williams who had advanced to second on the passed ball that scored Archer.

In the bottom of the inning, McClish allowed a single and a walk but got the final two outs by strikeout to preserve the victory.

The Cats took a 2-0 lead in the third inning when New scored on an RBI groundout by Dylan Adams and McClish scored on an RBI double by Archer.

Walton come back to get one in the bottom of the inning.

The Cats extended their lead to 3-1 in the fifth. Adams led off with a single and stole second base. After McClish flew out to centerfield, Pollard came through with an RBI single.

Walton tied the game in the sixth with two hits, a hit batter and a Henry County error, setting up the winning rally by Henry County in the seventh.

DeSales 3, HCHS 1

The Cats hosted the DeSales Colts on Saturday morning and the Colts cooled off the Cats’ hot bats, winning a low-scoring battle by two runs to end the Cats’ seven-game winning streak.

The Colts scored their first run in the top of the first inning when their leadoff batter reached first on an error. After stealing second, he came around to score on a one-out RBI single by their third batter.

They added a run to their lead in the third. The leadoff batter doubled to open the inning and their next batter singled to score the run. The Cats then retired the side to keep it 2-0.

The Colts got their final run in the fourth inning. The leadoff batter reached on a single, stole second base and advanced to third on an error. The Cats retired the next two batters but the fourth batter of the inning hit a single to score the run and make it 3-0.

The Cats got a run back in the sixth inning. Brad West drew a walk to start the inning and was advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by New. Adams followed and was hit by a pitch. After a strikeout, Pollard was also hit by a pitch, loading the bases with two outs. New scored on a wild pitch but the threat ended on a groundout to shortstop.

The Cats threatened again in the seventh, loading the bases with one out but the Colts were able to end the game on a 1-2-3 double play.

Dakota Estes started on the mound for the Cats and gave up one earned run in four innings. Williams and West relieved and did not allow a run.

“Offensively, we just didn’t play very well,” Yates said. “We only had one hit, but they didn’t hit very well either. They managed to score two of their three runs off of errors to leadoff batters. Our pitching was great and for the most part, good enough to win. We had a couple of chances to score more runs but just couldn’t get that big hit. They are a well-coached team and a good challenge for us. It just wasn’t our day and that’s okay. It happens.”