Lions leap in last lap: Late rally lifts Boyd past Rams

Apr. 27—CANNONSBURG — Sometimes a baseball game is like a marathon rather than a sprint.

Boyd County hit its stride around the final mile on Saturday, rallying in the sixth inning to take a win over Raceland 5-2.

The Lions, who gave up two runs in the top of the first inning, whipped up three runs to break a 2-2 tie.

"We didn't panic," Boyd County coach Frank Conley said. "You get down 2-0 to those guys, they can start doing their thing. They're a good team offensively, defensively, and pitching that will keep you down. We took what they gave us, chipped away, and never panicked."

The first run of the sixth frame flurry came off the bat of Michael Potter, who hit his second RBI single of the game to drive in Jacob Vanover.

Potter crossed the plate following a Ryan Brown sacrifice fly, followed shortly by Josh Kelley who scored off a JK McKnight hit.

The loss is just the second this season for the Rams against 16th Region opponents and the first of such to occur without extra innings.

"It was a well-played ballgame," Raceland coach Marty Mills said. "We had a couple of errors, eight hits and two runs. That's usually not us. Boyd did a really good job, tip your hats to those guys. Our kids came out to play, we battled all day, had some good stuff, but bottom line, we'll keep trying to get better from today."

The sixth inning trio of runs marked the only inning where Boyd County managed multiple runs as the Lions had to wait patiently to get the bats heated up.

Raceland wasted no time firing up its bats, getting hits from the first two batters in the lineup, Parker Fannin and Kadin Shore, before driving the first run in off a sacrifice bunt from Eli Lynd.

The Rams drove a second man to plate thanks to a single from Parker Ison to get the 2-0 lead after one half inning.

Brown, who commanded the mound for the Lions all game, made sure that didn't become a habit in the second frame, striking out all three batters for a 1-2-3 inning.

"He did really well," Conley said. "All of our guys, one through five, have struggled with that first inning and it was no different today. We have to get over that because we can't always dig ourselves out of that... but we did today. Brown pitched it well and once he got going, man he was tough."

Brown retired two more in the top of the third to keep the score at 2-0 through two and a half.

Boyd County took a little longer to get rolling on offense.

The first two innings were mostly inconsequential, save for a double from Grant Slater in the second that ultimately left him stranded.

The Lions finally saw some movement in the bottom of the third frame.

After Josh Kelley and JK McKnight reached on a hit-by-pitch and fielder's choice respectively, Alex Martin batted in the first run for the home team on an RBI single.

The Lions went back to work after another 1-2-3 inning where Brown struck out another two batters.

Michael Porter hit a rocket into right field that drove in Brogan Jones to knot it at 2-2.

Raceland changed pitchers to start the fifth inning, bringing in Stephen Pennington for Breyer Parsons.

"Breyer gave us what we needed, he's really come into his own this year," Mills said. "We had to pull him in case we need him Monday or Tuesday. Pennington's ball had a lot of movement on it, a lot of swing and misses."

Despite walking and beaming his first two batters, Pennington struck out the last three batters to hold the score at 2-2.

That wouldn't be the case in the bottom of the sixth.

"We went into that inning just trying to add on and get more guys on base," Conley said. "And put some pressure on them defensively, which I thought we did a pretty good job of doing."

Boyd County's run in the sixth put the Rams behind the eight-ball, facing a 5-2 deficit with just one half inning to change their fate.

Landon Bloss got a hit for Raceland in the eight spot, but it was bookended by a pair of strikeouts from Brown, which put his total Ks at 10 for the game.

With two outs and Bloss on first, Brown got Fannin to put a lame duck on the ground for an easy out at first to seal the Lions win.

"We still got a ways to go," Conley said. "We have to clean up some things, but I'll go to battle with these guys. They don't quit, they don't stop, they keep fighting and you'll take that from any team."

Mills also says his team has to work on some of the minutia of the game to get his team where they need to be.

"Just like any team this time of year, nobody wants to be playing their best baseball right now," Mills said. "You're just trying to stay the course, trying to get better each day, and iron some things out. And it's simple things. We're not too worried about ground balls or fly balls at this point, we're worried about other detail stuff."

RACELAND 200 000 0 — 2 7 2

BOYD CO. 001 103 X — 5 7 1

Parsons, S. Pennington (5) and Lynd; Brown and Jones. W — Brown. L — S. Pennington. 2B — Slater (BC), Martin (BC).

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