By Rodney Young
Salem- On a warm afternoon the Cougars last regular season contest saw them lose to the Salem Spartans 4-3. It was a tale of the season for the Cougars all over again. Bad base running decisions, big errors defensively, and flys that should have been caught but weren’t cost the Cougars dearly.
Zach McNally for the Spartans pitched four innings giving up one run on three hits and and hit a two out single in the bottom of the fifth to put the Spartans back on top 4-3. Zach Mineroldi then came in and got the pitching victory going three innings, striking out three and surrendered just two hits.
Pulaski County got a complete game pitching effort from senior Brayden Morris. Morris went six innings giving up four runs, of which only two were earned, striking out seven. Seniot Tyler Dotson had two hits and scored a run in the defeat. Jake Tabor scored twice and Tyler Blevins had two RBI’s. Morris had the other RBI in the losing effort. Daniel Safewright and Jed Singleton had the Cougars only other hits.
The Cougars got on the board in the first inning when Tabor hit a grounder that went through the first baseman’s legs. Dotson then walked and he and Tabor both moved up a base after a wild pitch. Morris then hit a sacrifice fly to center field to plate Tabor.
Salem answered with two runs in the bottom of the first with two hits, a walk, and a Cougar error.
Pulaski County then struck for two runs in the top of the fifth. Tabor drew a base on balls to start things off, and then Dotson singled and both scored on a Blevins single. Blevins got caught in a run down and slid back into first base with his arms extended. The base ump would call him out, but to those in attendance it appeared the tag was never made. Two other questionable calls went against the Cougars, with the first happening in the fourth inning on shot down the right field foul line that was called foul even though it appeared to land on the inside of the foul line.
The other call was a base running blunder by the Cougars. With a runner on first base and no one out in the sixth inning a Cougar batter swung and missed with the catcher missing the ball on strike three. The Cougar batter then took of running to first. The runner on first took off for second, but for some reason was thrown out trying to dive back into first.
Salem would win the contest in the bottom of the fifth, getting a single and a base on balls. With one out, Hunter Allen hit a blooper into very shallow center field and the ball fell in between two Cougar players, plating Christiaan Sowers and Zach Mineroldi.
“It was the same old story for us today, we had too many missed opportunities,” said Cougar Head Coach Doug Dunavant. “Base running mistakes and not getting the big hit when we needed it really took us out of the game. Brayden Morris pitched extremely well. He pitched well enough to win the game.”
The Cougars (6-12,1-9) will travel Monday to open up the first round of the River Ridge District Tournament. More than likely they will play either at Christiansburg or at Salem. Game time for either matchup will be set for 5 p.m.
R H E LOB
PC 3 5 1 7
S 4 7 3 4
PC- LP (MORRIS)
S - WP (MINEROLDI)