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STUART –– Take away a few shaky moments on defense Grayson County would have chalked up Wednesday’s 9-2 nondistrict win over Patrick County as a stellar effort.
As it was, the win was still nothing to sneeze at.
The Blue Devils got a strong effort from starting pitcher Dylan Isom, showed a good eye at the plate and took advantage of its offensive opportunities to notch the seven-run victory over what is traditionally one of the area’s better Group AA programs.
“If we could have had a little better defense we would have played a pretty good game,” said Grayson County coach Mike Worrell, whose team improved to 2-1 with the win despite four errors. “But all in all I thought we did a pretty good job. I’m just glad we got the game in.”
Originally scheduled as a home game for the Blue Devils, the venue was switched at mid-day as temperatures were expected to be in the mid-30s in Independence by the late afternoon. Conditions at the foot of Lover’s Leap Mountain were a little more tolerable, although not exactly enjoyable thanks to a brisk, chilly breeze most of the game.
Isom seemed unfazed, though, and provided the Blue Devils with six solid innings, earning the win by allowing one earned run on five hits, striking out eight and walking just one. After giving up doubles to the first two batters he faced, Isom surrendered just three singles the rest of his time on the mound.
“It took him a little while to get comfortable,” Worrell said. “He was up and they hit some rockets off him early, but he stayed in the strike zone and kept the ball down after that.”
Grayson County managed just six hits off of three Patrick County pitchers, four of them in succession in the fourth inning, but benefited from 11 walks and three Cougar errors. Two free passes and a bunt moved runners to second and third in the top of the first and a dropped throw at first with two out on a Matt Cornett grounder plated both runners. Cornett eventually scored on a wild pitch for a three-run Grayson lead.
Patrick County’s first two batters of the day, Chase Barnes and Wendell Hutchens, ripped back-to-back doubles to cut the lead to 3-1. The Cougars managed just one run off of a base hit and three Blue Devil errors in the bottom of the third to pull to within a run before Grayson batted around in the fifth to tack on four more runs.
Gavin Bailey, Isaac Osborne and Landon Frost all singled to start the rally, and Lucas Rudy’s base hit plated Bailey, chasing Cougar starter Nick Dalton. Spencer Roberts walked to force in a run before Max Rodgers drove in two with a line single into left.
Four straight walks added a Grayson run in the fifth. Cornett walked to lead off the sixth and stole two bases, drawing a wild throw while taking third to trot home with the Devils’ ninth run.
Ty Cannaday closed the door with a 1-2-3 seventh for Grayson.
Frost had two hits, Roberts and Rodgers had two RBIs each and Cornett totaled four stolen bases for Grayson.