Shelby County completes area sweep of Central Clay, Hamrick celebrates 100 wins

Published 10:56 am Saturday, March 25, 2023

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By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Managing Editor

LINEVILLE – With the offense on a roll, the Shelby County Wildcats continued an important stretch of play on Thursday, March 23, completing a sweep of Central-Clay County to improve to 2-0 in area play.

It came just two days after the Wildcats beat the Cougars 9-5 to pick up head coach Cory Hamrick’s 100th win, as they carried a strong offensive stretch into a 12-8 victory. With the 12 runs, they continued a stretch of scoring at least nine during their three-game win streak.

The win, however, didn’t come easily and took extra innings for Shelby County to pull out.

The Wildcats did have one big inning in the first seven innings of the game, but tied 7-7 at the end of seven innings, it was a five-run top of the eighth inning that made the difference in the four-run win.

Central actually took the early lead in the bottom of the first with a single run, but Shelby County responded with two in the second and four in the third to take a 6-1 advantage.

Clay, however, came right back with four in the third and two in the fourth, as the Cougars put together six combined runs in a two inning stretch of their own.

Trailing by one run, Shelby County had a scoreless fifth inning, but in the top of the sixth, Carter Sheehan came through in the clutch.

Cooper Pennington led the inning off by reaching base after being hit by a pitch, but two outs followed.

That brought Sheehan to the plate, who took a 1-1 pitch and drove it up the middle for what became an RBI double to even the score at 7-7 and eventually force extra innings.

In the first extra inning, Shelby County built off of that with a big five-run showing.

The Wildcats used a hit batter, a single and a walk to load the bases for Sheehan, who was hit by the pitch to bring home one run. Then, a sac bunt brought home another for a 9-7 advantage.

With two outs now on the board, Austin Wilson and Micah Morris strung together a double and single, respectively to bring home a total of three more runs for a 12-7 lead.

Central did score one in the bottom half, but that was all of the damage the home team could do, as the Wildcats finished off the four-run win.

Logan Starnes led the way with two hits and five RBIs, while Grant Robinson had two hits and one RBI. Sheehan and Wilson finished with one hit and two RBIs each, while Noah Reed and Morris finished with a hit and one RBI each.

Pennington got the start on the mound and struck out four in three innings, giving up one earned run, while Matherson finished off the final five innings and gave up one earned run on five hits with eight strikeouts.