Corbin falls to NL
The Corbin Junior League All-Stars lost to the North Laurel Junior League Monday night, but the loss was surrounded by controversy when it was discovered that an illegal bat was being used.
The player using the bat was two-for-three and had three RBI’s in the North Laurel win. Nonetheless, Corbin Coach Gary Helton felt his team didn’t play well.
“We didn’t play well at all,” Helton said. “We didn’t play well against South London and I think it carried over to this game. I thought we played a little tight and didn’t execute when we had the opportunities.”
Corbin missed on an opportunity to score in the bottom of the first when Jaxson Stewart hit a single up the middle with two outs. Stewart then stole first, sliding into second head first, but the North Laurel coaching staff challenged the slide. “They didn’t think a player could slide head first into a base,” Helton said. After a lengthy delay and the rulebooks brought out, Stewart remained at second base.
However, Ethan Wilson grounded out to third on the following play to end the inning.
In the bottom of the second, Corbin had chances to score, but came up empty. Drew Carter led off the inning with a walk. He stole second and third base to put him in scoring position. However, Braden Sevier popped out to third for the first out of the inning. Tanner Barnes drew a walk and he stole second has Corbin had runners at second and third with one out.
Before the inning was over Carter got caught in a rundown between third and home and was tagged out. Michael May hit a long fly ball to center field that was caught as North Laurel got out of inning without giving up a run.
“We had runners in scoring position, but couldn’t get a hit when we needed it,” Helton said. “We left a lot of runners on base in scoring position.”
North Laurel exploded for four runs in the top of the third to take the lead for good. Corbin responded with two runs in the bottom of the inning to keep the game close. Conner Hicks drew a one-out walk then stole second. Corey Ledington followed with a walk and the two runners moved up a base on a passed ball.
With Stewart at the plate, Hicks scored on a wild pitch by North Laurel pitcher Tory Bowling. Stewart then lined a hit past the shortstop to drive in Ledington.
Stewart was left stranded at second after taking his third stolen base of the game. “We were eight-for-eight in stolen bases,” Helton said.
The fourth saw Corbin leave a runner at third when Tanner Barnes hit into an infield error. He stole second and went to third on a passed ball, but Bowling struck out the next two batters to end the inning.
The sixth saw North Laurel add two runs to take a 6-2 lead. Tanner Sasser hit a single in the hole at second base before Bowling grounded out. Ryan Abner followed with a hit over second.
Hicks replaced Ledington, who started the game, on the mound. With two on and Hicks at the plate, he was intentionally walked to load the bases, setting up a force play. But Hicks walked Houston to force in the fifth run.
Martin followed with a grounder back to the right side of the mound and Hicks got Abner at the plate for the second out of the inning.
Jack Capobianco blasted a single to left field to drive in Hicks and that’s when Corbin Coach C.E. Brittain challenged the bat, which was illegal in Little League play. The only rule to apply was that a coach had to be removed from the bases for the first infraction according to Little League rules.
Hicks struck out Feltner to get out of the inning.
Corbin rallied in the bottom of the sixth, but came up short. Alec Gambrel drew a walk to lead off the inning and Carter followed with a double when he burned Abner in center field.
Ryan Phillips drove in Gambrel with a ground out to short for the first out of the inning. Barnes drew a walk and stole second, leaving runners in scoring position once again. North Laurel brought in Braxton Hicks to finish the game on the mound. May drove the ball to center field for the second out, but Carter scored on the tag.
Emery ended the game when he hit back to the mound for the easy play to first base.
“One hit could have changed the game,” Helton said. “We only had four hits and Stewart had three of those.”
“Corey pitched well enough to win the game. He gave up four earned runs. It wasn’t his best game,” Helton said. “But, he pitched well enough.”
Corbin was scheduled to play Harlan Tuesday night in the losers’ bracket elimination game and the coaches challenged their team to make the comeback.
“I think we can come back through this and give ourselves an opportunity to win this tournament,” Helton said. “We’ve got a solid pitching staff, but we have made it harder on ourselves by going to the losers’ bracket. We are very capable of going right through this tournament and winning it.”
“We will have to regroup and put this out of our heads and realize there is nothing you can do about it now,” Helton said. “We just have to take these games one at a time.”
North Laurel 6, Corbin 4
North Laurel 004 002 0- 6 10 1
Corbin 002 002 0- 4 4 3
Bowling, Hicks (6) and Feltner. Ledington, Hicks (5) and Stewart. WP-Bowling, LP-Ledington. 2B-Martin (NL), Carter (C).
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