Cougar seniors lead team to victory

By RODNEY YOUNG

yjake4@gmail.com

 

The Cougar baseball team held their Senior Day to recognize their 10 seniors Tuesday. Those seniors responded by leading team to an impressive 4-1 win over Hidden Valley.

 

Senior southpaw starting pitcher Brandon Neel threw a gem of a game, going 6.1 innings allowing only five hits. He surrendered just one run, which was unearned. He walked three and struck out three. Fellow seniors Bailey Ayers, Jon Osteen and Drew Mabry each scored a run in the win. Ayers was two for three and knocked in a run and Osteen also knocked in one. Another senior, Trent Blankenship, was one for three with an RBI. Junior Jon Howlett was one for two and scored a run.

 

Hidden Valley scored their only run in the top of third when Austin Kirkbride singled and then moved to second on a single by Matt Bolinger. Ryan Kirkbride then laid down a sacrifice bunt that was fielded by Neel, who tossed it to first but the ball was misplayed, allowing Kirkbride to score.

 

The Cougars (8-8, 3-6) answered with a run in the bottom of the fourth. Ayers singled with one out. After a walk, he moved to second and then reached third on a fielder’s choice. He scored on a Hidden Valley wild pitch. The Cougars scored three runs in their half of the fifth with a Howlett single, a Hidden Valley error and then an Osteen single drove in Howlett. Blankenship grounded out but scored Mabry and with two outs Ayers singled in Osteen.

 

Neel started on the mound and got the first out in the top of the seventh. He was replaced by Chris Remington, who came in and shut the door striking the next two batters out to get a save and the Senior Day win for the Cougars.

 

“I’m so proud of how the seniors played today. It was a great way for them to go out at home,” said Cougar Head Coach Jared King. “Brandon (Neel) pitched his tail off today. He needed that today and so did we.  It was a great team win and I’m just so proud of all of them.”

 

The Cougars will now hit the road as they play at Blacksburg today, at Salem Monday and then at Cave spring Tuesday to finish out the regular season.

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