A seven-run fourth inning proved to be the difference maker in Mason County’s 12-2, five inning win over Robertson County, Wednesday at Royals Field.
With three seniors in Malkolm Devine, Zach Drury and J’Kari Gause being recognized for Senior Night prior to the contest, the three would help the Royals improve to 6-9 on the season by combining for four hits and driving in four runs in the contest.
After Robertson County trimmed a 4-0 deficit down to 4-2 in the top of the third, the Royals used patience at the plate with four walks, were aggressive on the basepaths with four stolen bases and plated seven runs to turn what looked to be a close game to an 11-2 lead after four innings of play.
“They’ve got a good team, they’re improving and we just got to step up and play whoever we play,” Royals coach Tom Posey said. “It’s good to come out and play with the weather finally cooperating for everybody in the state of Kentucky. We’ve just got to come out and keep doing what we’re doing. We’re down to a week and a half now in the regular season and we’ve just got to keep working at it.”
Nicholas Bramel settled in on the mound after the two runs were allowed by retiring eight of the final nine batters he faced for the complete-game victory.
“He did a great job and threw strikes,” Posey said. “You throw strikes, you keep your team in the game and it definitely helps out. We needed it.”
Bramel allowed three hits with the two runs, while striking out seven and walking two.
The Royals plated two runs in the first as David Selby’s RBI groundout plated Malkolm Devine for the first run of the contest followed by an RBI single from Gause, scoring Carson Brammer.
Mason County made it a 4-0 advantage in the second when the aggressiveness they featured on the basepaths all game long plated two more runs when courtesy runner Tyler Stice scored on a throwing error as the Black Devils tried to catch Nickolas Frame stealing second as an errant throw went to centerfield. Frame would later score on a passed ball.
The Black Devils were able to trim the deficit in half in the third when Trey Schultz collected an RBI single scoring Nathan Goodman followed by an RBI groundout from Wyatt Cooper, scoring Eli Dotson.
The two then had scoreless frames in the bottom of third and top of the fourth before the Royals exploded in the fourth.
They’d close out the game in the fith with the 10-run rule after Dylan Mitchell walked and later scored after Bramel reached on an error, the Black Devils fourth miscue of the contest. Five of the Royals 12 runs in the contest were unearned.
“We’re still young, we start six freshman and we’ve got five kids who have only played a couple years. We’re still learning the game and don’t have the mental toughness when we make one mistake, we struggle to move on from it,” Black Devils coach Darrin Sutton said. “The mental part of the game is what we have to work on. We’re going to make mistakes, we’re young, when we figure that out we’re going to be fine.”
The loss dropped Robertson County to 4-12 on the season as they continue their four-game week with Bracken County at home on Thursday. Schultz, Ross Becker and Carter Jefferson collected the three hits for the Black Devils on the day as Jefferson took the loss on the mound, allowing five hits and five earned runs in 3.1 innings of work.
“We’re starting to put the ball in play, we’ve struggled with that the last couple games and we pitched a guy tonight that hadn’t started a game all year. He’s only thrown about 10 innings all year and thought he did a nice job the first couple of innings,” Sutton said.
The Royals will look to keep their momentum going off this win when they play East Carter at Lewis County, Saturday at the David Iery Classic at 11 a.m.
“Being consistent, getting timing down is always a big thing. We’ve just got to keep doing with what we’re doing and get better with it,” Posey said.
Gause was the lone Royal with two hits but every batter was able to reach base via hit or walk. Devine and Bramel each had two RBIs.
RBI- (RC) Schultz, Cooper (MC) Devine 2, Bramel 2, Selby, Gause, Drury
LOB- Robertson 3, Mason 3
WP- Bramel. LP- Jefferson
Records: Robertson County 4-12, Mason County 6-9