LEXINGTON - A 7-run fifth inning closed the door on the Hazard Bulldogs’ All “A” Tournament run Saturday as the Beechwood Tigers advanced to the semifinals with the 11-1 win at Whitaker Bank Ballpark in Lexington.
Missed opportunities dominated the first inning for both squads as the Bulldogs left the bases loaded and Beechwood failed to dent the plate after advancing runners to second and third with only one out. Both teams were retired in order in the second frame.
Hazard Coach John Meehan said that plating a run in that first inning could have given his team some momentum.
“We had an opportunity,” Meehan said. “We had the bases loaded there and we had a senior up at the plate. We had a great opportunity against a good ball club…those are the chances you have to cash in on.”
Meehan said that the difference in the game was the ability to take advantage of scoring opportunities when they presented themselves.
“When (Beechwood) had the chances (to score) they did,” Meehan said. “They did in every situation.”
The Bulldogs struck first in the third when JT Haynes scored from third on a Griffin Wells single to right. Beechwood answered with four runs in the bottom of the frame to take a lead they would never relinquish.
The Tigers added seven more runs in the fifth inning, sending 16 men to the plate.
Even though the result wasn’t what coach Meehan hoped he was pleased with his team’s effort.
“This is a great group of guys,” Meehan said. “I am very proud of this team. They played hard and represented Hazard well.”
This was Hazard’s second consecutive trip to the All “A” State Tournament and with the underclassmen dominated lineup, coach Meehan expects good things in the future. However, he did not attribute the loss to youth or early butterflies.
“This is the second year in a row,” Meehan said. “We are freshman and sophomore dominated…sometimes that’s not an excuse.
“I don’t even want to say that it was nerves. When you come down here and you play in this type of a tournament, you have to play well…and we did not.
With the loss, the Bulldogs dropped to 19-8 on the season. Next up for Hazard will be Knox Central at home on Tuesday, May 5.