VANCEBURG – Greenup County doused Lewis County twice in the regular season by 11-run margins, but the Musketeers knew better than to expect a similar walkover with the Lions’ ace in the hole working Monday in the 63rd District Tournament semifinals.
“That two to nothin’ looks like a hundred to nothin’ right now,” said Greenup County coach Greg Logan, equal parts satisfied and relieved, after the Musketeers topped the Lions by that margin.
Greenup County (32-5) advanced to the district tournament finals and next week’s 16th Region Tournament after a season’s absence from each. The Musketeers put up two unearned runs and got a one-hit, 10-strikeout complete game from ace Ryan Lambert.
Lewis County’s Seth Wright also went the distance and limited the Musketeers to four hits. Greenup County didn’t execute its baserunning as well as Logan would’ve liked, but it manufactured two runs, which was plenty enough for Lambert.
In the bottom of the fourth inning, Gage Hughes walked, took second base on a passed ball and advanced to third on a groundout. Kyle Gammon hit a two-out ground ball that the Lions’ third baseman fielded cleanly, but with Gammon speeding down the line, the throw pulled the first baseman off the bag, and Hughes scored on the play.
Greenup County doubled that margin in the sixth. Hughes led off with a bang-bang infield single, beating Wright’s flip to first. Isaiah Greene bunted and reached without a throw, and Hughes and Greene stole third and second, respectively.
After Dylan Ball walked to load the bases, Hughes scored on a two-out passed ball.
That was more than enough for Lambert.
“It takes all the stress off,” the senior said of playing with Greenup County’s offense. “It doesn’t even faze me. I’m not sitting on the edge of my seat, waiting (for runs).”
Lambert only allowed two baserunners. Lewis County’s Austin Collins singled in the third but was erased on a double play. Tate Willis reached on a one-out fifth-inning error but couldn’t advance.
“They’ve proved to me that they could hit it,” Lambert said of Lewis County. “But I just went out there and told everybody on my team I was gonna give it everything I had.”
Wright set the tone for a Lions side determined not to be blown out again. He also struck out 10 Musketeers.
“They made us work for every base that we got,” Logan said. “One of the best pitching performances that I’ve seen a Lewis County kid have, and it’s just unfortunate for him.”
Lewis County finished 12-12, a year after going 6-24.
“It’s been a blast. Extremely proud,” Lions coach Larry Riley said. “They blew us out twice. We worked hard the last week, getting prepared. We played our hind ends off. We just couldn’t get anybody on to move them around.”
LEWIS CO. 000 000 0 — 0 1 1
GREENUP CO. 000 101 X — 2 4 1
Wright and Yates; Lambert and Ball. W — Lambert. L — Wright. 2B — J. Johnson (GC).