Riley, Bruner lead Cougars to Clash win
By Jim Turner

Posted on April 23, 2014 10:19 PM

Michael Riley singled in two runs in the eighth inning, and Caleb Bruner continued his pitching excellence Tuesday as the Logan County Cougars edged the Russellville Panther 3-1 at Kelly Russell Field to get a regular season sweep of Clashes of the Cats. The teams could very well meet again in the 13th District Tournament, which will be played at LCHS.

The team was a pitchers’ duel, with Bruner—who has committed to pitch for Morehead State University even though he is still a junior—coming out just a little ahead of Panther Jacob Procter, also a senior.

The pitchers’ statistics were amazingly similar. Bruner gave up his lone run in the sixth inning. He only allowed two hits and one walk while striking out nine Panthers. Procter took the loss despite pitching a five-hitter. He walked two and struck out 12. Logan’s first run scored in the sixth, too. Both pitchers threw 112 pitches. Proctor threw 76 strikes and Bruner 74. Both of them threw 18 first-pitch strikes with Procter facing four more batters (34-30) than Bruner.

Cougar shortstop Matt Harper doubled in the first inning and tripled in the sixth. He also walked, scored a run and had an RBI. Jacob Wood and courtesy runner Jose Arostegui scored the runs. Joe Holliday and Bruner each tripled, but Procter and Coach Greg Shelton’s defense kept them from scoring. Holliday also reached on a passed ball after he struck out. He stole second but didn’t get any further. Harper and Riley also had stolen bases, while Ian Woodall and Bruner reached on errors.

The Panther hits were a single by Zack Denney and a double by Desmon Quarles. Denney, who drew the walk, scored on Corey Wright’s RBI. Denney reached on an error to start the Panthers’ batting for the night, and Jordan Blick and T.K. Hampton both sacrificed. Bruner hit Wright with a pitch.

Senior Barrett Croslin, who leads the Panthers in batting average (.529 with 36 hits in 68 bats), hits, runs scored (20), extra base hits (10), stolen bases (13), on base percentages (.584), slugging percentage (.721), and contact percentage (.941), missed the first Clash of his three-sport, five-year career because of injuring his ankle in a game Saturday. The expected duration of his being sidelined has not yet been determined.

“One reason I came to this game was to see these 10 guys on the same field one last time,” said Tim Baldwin, father of Cougar outfielder Tucker Baldwin. He was referring to the 10 players on the 2010 Logan County Little League All-Stars who made local history by playing in the Little League World Series.

Eight of them started this game. Bruner, Woodall, Harper, Wood, Holliday and Baldwin were in Coach Ethan Meguiar’s Cougar lineup, as were Denney and Quarles for RHS. The only other one who didn’t play besides Croslin was outfielder Daniel Beaty, who plays often for the Cougars.

The Cougars (14-6) are 3-1 in the district, but Coach Craig Delk’s Franklin-Simpson team has the region’s best record at 18-5 and is 4-0 in the district. The Panthers (7-14) are 0-3 in the district. Shelton’s team has both regular season games remaining with Todd Central, which is 2-13 overall.  The Rebels put up a good fight against F-S Monday before losing 9-6 in eight innings, but the Cats came back strong to win 10-0 Tuesday.

The Panthers and Coach Matt Baker’s Rebels will play back-to-back games next Monday and Tuesday.

A third Clash is very likely in the district.

Russellville has a busy weekend ahead in playing in and hosting the Kelly Russell Classic. See the story about the later Panther great Kelly Russell for times and opponents at .

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