Briar Jumpers execute Patriots rule | Sports
After winning their 2022 season opener against South Laurel, the Briar Jumpers saw themselves outscored 18-4 in the last 2 games as they were mired in the middle of a 2 game skid. Things didn’t look much brighter Friday night as they hosted the Lincoln County Patriots, a team that had only gone 5 innings in their 2 games so far in the season due to a incredibly effective attack (outclassing their 2 opponents 34 -9). With Somerset starting a freshman on the mound for this game in Isiah Lewis, you’d think the Lincoln County offense would pounce on it and up the score on him. This was not the case however, as during the first 2½ innings the game was a straight pitching duel, with neither team able to get much on base. However, the Briar Jumper offense would explode late in the 3rd inning, scoring 9 runs en route to a 5-inning 14-2 win over Lincoln County.
Both pitchers, Lewis for Somerset and Tate Curlis for Lincoln County, were quite dominant as explained above, with both pitchers throwing 4 strikeouts late in the 3rd inning. Lincoln County would be rocked early in the 3rd, as after a Somerset single and a consecutive Lincoln County pitching error, the Briar Jumpers would have their first run on the board as Lewis headed home. After a brace from Cayden Cimala and a hat-trick from Cole Reynolds, Somerset would push their lead to 3-0. A few good base steals from Josh Gross (who had 5 crazy interceptions during the game) and wild throws would increase Somerset’s lead to 4-0. Then the hit parade began for the Briar Jumpers, as Jaden Bryant would single to left field and Brayden Gross would single to right field to make Somerset’s lead 6-0. Lincoln County would then have a pitching change, as Landon Day would come in for relief. This pitching change would not phase the home team, as after a 2-RBI single from Lewis and a RBI double from Cimala, Briar Jumper’s lead would increase to 9-0, Lincoln County being about to be merciful.
Lewis of Somerset would face some adversity on the mound in the top of the 4th as after a walk and 2 singles (Skyler Quinn and Lee Amon) the bases were loaded for the freshman pitcher. A bad pitch would give the Patriots their first run on the board, but the defense stepped up with a double play after that, and after Lewis’ 5th strikeout of the day, the Briar Jumpers escaped from the top of the 4th, n’ awarding only 2 points per Lincoln County.
Somerset’s Gross would start the scoring for the home team in the bottom of the 4th after hitting a single, then stealing 2nd, 3rd and home plate in succession, giving the Briar Jumpers their 10th inning of the game, but they weren’t finished there . After a walk and a hit per pitch, as well as a successful double steal, Gross hit a single to left field and brought both runners home, making Somerset’s lead 12-2, good enough for the racing rule comes into effect. effect if Lincoln County could not score in the next half inning. A Cimala single would load the bases, and following another Patriots pitching error, 2 more runners would score, giving the Briar Jumpers some breathing room for the 14-2 run rule. Lincoln would once again make a pitching change, bringing in Landen Tracy, and after a shaky start with a walk, he was able to pull himself together and get the final 2 outs of the inning. Lincoln County’s Brennin Hazlet would also have a crazy diving catch near the end of the inning that would honestly be good enough to make Sportscenter’s Top 10.
With the problems they found themselves in their final defensive half, you’d think a pitching change might have been in order for the Briar Jumpers for the start of the 5th, but Lewis would trudge there until the mound to try to wrap this one up. After a very shaky top of the 4th, Lewis managed to get the next 3 batters for Lincoln County lined up in order, and as the endgame was recorded, Somerset found themselves with a 5 win innings over the Patriots, 14-2. All in all, a very good performance on the mound for the rookie, which could set him up for a fantastic season this year!
Somerset improve to 2-2 on the young season with the win and will then be in action early next week. On Monday, the Briar Jumpers will host the Whitley County Colonels (1-2), with a first pitch at 6 p.m., and on Tuesday, the Briar Jumpers will travel to face the Russell County Lakers, with a first pitch there scheduled for 5:30 p.m.