Cougars edge F-S 3-2 for district baseball title
By Jim Turner

Posted on January 1, 0001 12:00 AM

Two home runs put Logan County in position to win and then small ball produced the winning run as Coach Ethan Meguiar’s Cougars squeezed by Franklin-Simpson for the 13th District baseball championship Thursday at Elkton.
Courtesy runner Justin Hopkins came home on freshman Ian Woodall’s ground ball for the go-ahead and what proved to be winning run in the sixth inning. Hopkins was running for catcher Dustin Cartas, who led off the inning with a single. After John Logan Dockins moved Hopkins up on a walk, Ryan Harper and Woodall hit ground balls that forced runners at second but plated Hopkins. Harper and Dockins had homered earlier in the game, but contributed this time on a walk and a groundout.
Pitcher Dustin Nash set the Wildcats down in order in the final inning, striking out college-bound Hayden Williams for the final out of the game. Nash gave up seven hits but didn’t walk a single Cat. The Cougars, who made seven errors in last year’s finals, played errorless ball in this championship game.
The Cougars (22-10) and Wildcats (20-12) have met in the district finals 10 of the last 12 years. Each has won five of those championships.
Woodall was designated hitting for sophomore third baseman Ryan Basham, who is still recovering from a preseason injury but made some big plays at third.
The turning point of the game came in the fourth inning. Franklin had the bases loaded with just one out, but Nash struck out J.T. Arnemann and got the ever-tough Williams to fly out to Jacob Hopkins in left to end the threat. Williams had scored the Cats’ second run when he raced home on the second of losing pitcher Dylan Richardson’s three hits. Leftfielder Jacob Hopkins, however, made a good catch on Dalton Jones’ sinking fly ball to keep F-S from taking the lead.
The Harper brothers were solid as middle infielders with Ryan, who is in his fourth year as a starter as a junior, playing shortstop and Matt, an eighth grader, at second. Brandon Sowell and Lawton Jackson joined Jacob Hopkins in the outfield. Casey Steenbergen pinch hit in the sixth.
Taylor Gregory had put Franklin up 1-0 to start the game with his second home run in two days. Ryan Harper’s home run was also his second of the tournament.
The draw for regional tournament pairings is scheduled for Saturday morning at Warren East. Games most likely will be played Memorial Day at Western Kentucky University.

Franklin-Simpson 8, RHS 3
Franklin had built to big a lead for Russellville to overcome in Wednesday’s semifinals, but Coach Lou Kendall’s team mounted a threat anyway. After falling behind 7-0, the Panthers mounted a couple of threats in the late innings before losing 8-3.
The Wildcats scored four runs in the second on a single by Joe Fuqua, a Panther error, a walk, a 2-run double by Williams, a sacrifice fly by Richardson, and an RBI double by James. Williams, who has signed to play NCAA Division III baseball at Wabash, had three hits and scored each time.
Coach Craig Delk’s team added two more runs in the fourth on consecutive infield errors by the Panthers.
Russellville had a baserunner in each of the first four innings. Seth Washington singled in the first, Caleb Wills reached on an error in the second, D.J. Quarles singled in the third and Thomas Shifflett led off the fourth with a single, but none of them scored.
In the fifth with two outs, Barrett Croslin singled and then beat out a force play at second on a ground ball by Tyler Hall. Washington then hit a ground-rule double that bounced over the fence. Croslin scored and Hall would have, but on a ground-rule double he had to stay at third.
Kendall replaced Wills on the mound with freshman Corey Wright, and he was greeted by Taylor Gregory with a home run. Wright then issued a walk to Fuqua, but got the final three outs in a row, the last two on strikeouts, including one of Williams. He got two more consecutive outs in the sixth before being touched for a double by designated hitter Chase Roberts. He induced Joey Symon to line out, however, to keep Roberts from scoring.
The Panthers had a good inning in the sixth. Shifflett added his second hit, and this, too, was a ground-rule double. After an out, Layton Bush beat out a close play at first and was awarded a hit. Wills, the starting pitcher, singled for an RBI, and Drew Hayes, who had come on to play first base when Wright moved to the mound, got the Panthers’ fourth hit of the inning, driving in Bush.
But relief pitcher James struck out Croslin and picked Wills off second base to end the threat.
Zach Denney was the designated hitter, and Travis Kennedy came to the plate twice as a pinch hitter after being left with unfinished business at the plate on the pickoff. Zach Wright was the winning pitcher for Franklin.

Logan Count y 14, Todd Central 2
A three-run home run by Ryan Harper in the first inning proved to be all the runs Coach Meguiar’s team would need, but an 11-run second inning put aside all mysteries. In the 2nd, Todd pitcher Jordan Walters had a full count on Dockins with two out, but the Cougar first baseman doubled in three runs. By the time relief pitcher Jason Fort got Dockins to pop up nine batters later, the Cougars had scored 11 runs in the inning. They came on an RBI single by Ryan Harper, walks to Woodall and Sowell, a 2-run double by winning pitcher Jackson, an RBI double by Jacob Hopkins, an RBI single by Nash and an RBI double by Matt Harper.
For the game, Cartas walked twice and reached on an error, Two sets of brothers-the Harpers and Justin and Jacob Hopkins-each scored two runs, as did Nash.
Devin Skipworth and Walters got the only hits Jackson allowed to Todd, which finished 6-18. C.J. Broderick and Tyler Harris drew the only walks Jackson issued. Casey Williams is the Todd coach.
Named All-District from Logan were pitchers/oufielders Nash and Jackson, first baseman Dockins and catcher Cartas while Russellville was represented by outfielder Shifflett and catcher Washington.
Shifflett is expected to undergo Tommy John Surgery to repair an elbow injury that kept him from pitching or making long throws from the outfield all season.

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