After surprising the Madisonville-North Hopkins Maroons with an 11-6 victory in their season opener, the Webster County Trojans were unable to recapture that same magic in the second week of the season, dropping three games in-a-row. The week was only made worse by a series of costly errors, an alleged bad game-ending call and the absence of three players, including two starters.
“I had my starting catcher and shortstop leave for Spring Break the Wednesday before Apollo, then an eighth grade Varsity pitcher left Friday night to go on trips with his family,” said head coach Mark Spainhoward. “All three of those have left us short handed the last several games, and have affected the lineup greatly as the catcher and shortstop were our number two and three hitters. But I’m happy with the guys who have stepped up and come to play each day the others have been gone.”
To kick the week off, the Trojans (1-0) welcomed the Eagles (1-1) to the Clarky Clark Athletics Complex on Thursday.
Senior Tanner Robertson started on the mound for the Trojans.
Apollo scored two runs in the top of the first. In the bottom half, Webster looked to start thinks off when Landon Braden slammed a fly ball double to left, but the next three batters popped out.
That was the story for the rest of the night. The Trojans collected seven hits through seven innings, but were never able to put a runner across the plate. The Eagles scored 12 runs on 13 hits.
Robertson went four innings for the Trojans, collecting one strikeout and giving up four earned runs. Pitching in relief, Ben Blanford struck out three through three innings and allowed five earned runs.
Jackson Edens led the way on offense for the Trojans, going -2-for-3. David Wingo , Jace Thurby and Landon Black were all 1-for-3 on the night. Landon Braden was 1-for-4, but had Webster’s biggest it of the game.
On Saturday the Trojans traveled to Livingston County for a round robin with Livingston Central and Graves County. Though the Trojans looked strong throughout the game, errors in the field proved to be a costly obstacle for Webster County.
The Trojans looked strong against the Livingston Central Cardinals, jumping out to a 4-0 lead in the first quarter.
Lead-off batter Jackson Edens was hit by a pitch to start the game. He stole second before Jace Thurby hit a line drive to left, allow him to cross the plate. Landon Braden singled to left and Zach Meadors walked to load the bases.
Landon Black, Tanner Robertson and David Wingo each walked, scoring three additions runs to give the Trojans a 4-0 lead before the inning ended.
The Trojans would remain atop the scoreboard until the bottom of the third, when the Cardinals would rally to score five runs and take a 5-4 lead.
A sacrifice bunt by Black in the top of the fourth would score Meadors, who was on base thanks to a single to center field, and tie the game at 5-5.
Livingston Central battled back in bottom of the fifth, retaking the lead at 10-5.
In the top of the sixth, Braden would reach second on a double, and then score on a single by Meadors, cutting the lead to 10-6.
The Trojans would hold the Cardinals scoreless in the bottom half, then stage a rally of their own in their last at bat. Lead-off batter Trystan Means took first after being beamed, but the second and third batters in the line up would both fail to reach first.
With two outs in the final inning, Edens would reach first on a ground ball to third, then advance to second as the Cardinals failed to catch Means at home, cutting the lead to 10-7. Thurby would then advance, scoring Edens.
In the final play of the game, Meadors would drive in Thurby, but get caught trying to stretch his hit to a double as the tying run was crossing the plate. According to Spainhoward, it was a bad call.
“He was 1/2 way across the bag before he was tagged,” he said. If the call had gone the other way, the Trojans would have tied the game and still had a chance to take the lead.
Thurby started the game on the mound. He gave up six hits and three earned runs while striking out four through four innings. Pitching in relief, Braden would go two innings and allow just one earned run while allowing three hits and striking ut two batters.
The Trojans lost the game despite picking up 13 hits to Livingston Central’s 12.
Landon Braden hit a perfect 5-for-5 from the plate with three singles and two doubles.
“Braden has been a leader for some time, and there’s a reason he was on the KHSBCA preseason watch list,” said Spainhoward. “Landon works hard every day and leads by example. He was poised to have a phenomenal season in 2020 after hitting .323 in 2019 and has picked up right where he left off.”
Thurdby was 3-5 with two RBIs. Meadors was 3-for-4 with two RBIs. Wingo and Edens each went 1-for-3 with an RBI. Edens was 0-for-2 with a pair of RBIs.
In their second game of the day, the Trojans faced the Graves County Eagles, who had just defeated Livingston Central 16-0 in four innings. According to Spainhoward, his team came into the game mad about the call that had ended their match-up with Livingston County, unfortunately the emotions proved to be costly for Webster County as the Eagles would go on to win the game 11-1.
“Graves wasn’t 10 runs better than us, but we didn’t play defense behind our pitchers.” said Spainhoward. “Most of the guys were still angry about the Livingston game, and the way it ended.”
Graves County got on the scoreboard in the bottom of the second inning following a series of unfortunate events.
An error by Meadors at third base allowed the Eagles’ leadoff batter to reach first. The second batter would walk. Then a passed ball would allow the runners to advance into scoring position.
Two solid hits then drove in three runs, giving Graves County a 3-0 lead.
Another error at third would another runner to reach base, and another passed ball would advance runners to second and third, where they were driven in on a line drive to center, given the Eagles a 5-0 lead.
In the fourth, the Graves County lead-off man would be hit by a pitch, then a walk and single would load the bases, but the Trojans would manage to grab two outs.
With the score still at 5-0 with two outs and bases loaded, an error by Braden at shortstop would allow one run to score. Line drives to center and right would then drive in four more runs to give the Eagles a 10-0 lead.
Thurby would manage the only RBI of the game for Webster in the top of the fifth when he drove in Ray Merideth to cut the lead to 10-1.
Graves would pickup one final run in the bottom of the sixth to take a ten run lead and end the game.
Black would take the loss for the Trojans. He went four innings, allowing seven hits and one earned run through four innings while striking out three. Chase Hearon was on the mound for one inning, allowing one hit and striking out two, while allowing one earned run.
Despite the lopsided score, Graves County only out hit the Trojans 8-5. Thurby, Braden, Black and Blanford each singled. Edens had a double while Thurby picked up an RBI.
The Trojans were scheduled to travel to Graves County on Tuesday after press time for a double header.
On Friday Webster will travel to Brooks Stadium in Paducah for the KHSAA 2A Sectional.
Contact Matt Hughes at email@example.com or 270-667-2069