For the second time in a little more than a month, the Hazard Bulldog baseball team will be headed to the state tournament. In May, the Bulldogs took the runners up trophy in the All “A” state tournament, and now they will be looking to take the Sweet 16 state baseball title.
The Bulldogs would take on the Perry County Central Commodores in the 14th region championship game. The Commodores won the district title, and Hazard was looking to avenge the loss and make the Sweet Sixteen.
The Bulldogs struck first, with a pair of runs in the first inning. Rudy Akemon reached on a walk (Bailey Blair pitch runner), and Cole Ratliff got aboard via the error. Both would then score on a Ryan Smith double (2-0).
Perry Central cut the lead in half in the third inning with a single swing of the bat. Evan Hurt took a pitch over the centerfield fence, bringing the score to 2-1.
Both teams had opportunities, but could not score until the seventh inning. Hazard got an insurance run in the seventh inning. Coby Cumbow got things started with a double, and later scored on an error (3-1).
The Bulldogs needed the insurance run as the Commodores went to work in the bottom of the frame. Braxton Cottongame got on base with a single, and came around to score on a wild pitch. However, the rally would die, and Hazard held on to take the title 3-2.
Griffin Wells got the win, going the distance with 6 hhits, 2 runs, 2 walks and 9 strikeouts. Evan Hurt got the loss for Perry Central with 7 hits, 3 runs and 2 walks in seven innings.
Hazard (3) Griffin Wells 2 hits, Rudy Akemon 1 hit and 1 run, Cole Ratliff 1 run, Ryan Smith 2 hits and 2 RBI, Blake Nidiffer 1 hit and Coby Cumbow 1 hit and 1 run.
Perry Central (2) Evan Hurt 1 hit (HR), 1 run and 1 RBI, Dylan Fields 2 hits, Braxton Cottongame 2 hits and 1 run, and Kameron Conley 1 hit.
Tony McGuire can be reached at 606-436-5771 or on Twitter @HazardHerald.