On Tuesday night the Panthers and Cougars squared off for the final regular season match up. The Cougars were looking to lock up the number one seed in the district and remain perfect in district play, while the Panthers were look to add a blemish to Logan County’s record and still leave them a sliver of hope to tie at the end of the season for the top spot.
But in this closely contested ‘Clash’ there could be only one winner and the Cougars held off the Panthers for a 4-0 victory, clinching their number one seed in the upcoming district tournament.
“We didn’t hit the ball great tonight, but Thomas was really good, he’s been really good the last few outings,” LCHS head coach Ethan Meguiar said. “Every time he pitches he’s given us a great chance to win no matter who we’re playing it seems like. We got a couple runs early, executed well we ran the bases well and got out first run and got the bunt down when we needed to.”
In the first inning, Thomas Miller shut down the potent Panthers offense, and some crafty running on the bases got the Cougars their first run of the game.
With Miller throwing the way he was, it looked like that one run might be all that was needed.
“Tip your hat to the Miller kid, he’s a crafty pitcher who can throw that breaking pitch for a strike seemingly when he wanted to and that’s hard to hit,” RHS head coach Lou Kendall said.
With Miller and his counterpart, Crewsdon Kemp exchanging zero’s in the second the Cougars got to see a spectacular play in the outfield by Gage Hales as he robbed Seth Washington from a sure RBI opportunity and kept the shut out intact.
In the third inning Logan County had their best chance to blow the game wide open. Kemp and the Russellville defense got them into a jam as the Cougars loaded the bases with nobody out. In the previous meeting the Cougars jumped at this opportunity and tacked on run after run.
But not this time, after hitting Ian Woodall, Kemp managed to get two harmless pop ups and a ground out to get out of the inning with only giving up the second run.
“We left a few men on base tonight, one two out hit would have broke the game wide open,” coach Meguiar said.
With the momentum halted and hanging in the balance, the Panthers had their best chance to break through. A walk, and an error by Logan County’s defense got the first two Panthers on. A sacrifice bunt moved them over into scoring position before a ground out and a line drive was snagged by the right fielder to steal any momentum Russellville had.
Logan County added two more runs in the fifth with smart base running and a little help by the Panthers’ miscues in the field.
“I feel like our defense gave them a couple, but they still earned the rest of them,” coach Kendall said.
Given a four run lead, Miller handled the rest. He pitched scoreless sixth and seventh inning and wrapped up the game with eight strike outs while only giving up two hits.
“I let Cartas call the pitches and just do what he says, he’s usually right,” LCHS pitcher Thomas Miller said. “I just tried to throw strikes.”
Coach Kendall would have loved to walk away from Cougar field with a win, but playing Logan County has been his own little nightmare as in the past 10 years he’s compiled a 8-22 record against the cross town rivals.
“It would have been nice to walk away with a win, we’ve had some good games over the last 29 years here,” coach Kendall said. “Hey it’s been fun playing here.I guess I’m glad I don’t have to come back here, and you can quote me on that. It’s a nice ball park they’ve done a really nice job over the years. Best team in the district, and probably one of the top three teams in the region, so just tip our hats to them and go on.”
LCHS head coach Ethan Meguiar has nothing but respect for his counterpart at Russellville.
“I got a lot of respect of coach Kendall, he was coaching when I was playing and anybody who puts that many years into it, is a true warrior,” coach Meguiar said. “It’s a tough game to coach that many years.”
The Cougars will next go to Muhlenberg County on Friday before a monumental match up at Bowling Green on Saturday night. In what could be a regional final preview the Cougars will look to make a statement to the rest of the region with a victory.
“Hopefully we can be healthy and go up there and play well, you never know, we may see one of their better pitchers that night, or we might see someone down in the rotation you never know,” coach Meguiar said. “It’ll be good for us to go play someone like that, I always enjoy playing someone like that, the best.”
A team that will be anxious to make their own argument to being in the conversation at the top of the Region is Russellville. They will look to rebound as they host Trinity (Whitesville) on Thursday before going off to Metcalfe on Friday.
“We got two and a half weeks left, we’ll be alright, we know what we have to do to go to region,” coach Kendall said. “