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Comets, Falcons advance to All 'A' region semifinals

By Mike Stunson mstunson@paducahsun.com

MURRAY -- To win three games in three days in the First Region All "A" Classic, it comes down to pitching and plenty of depth. Good thing for Carlisle County, the reliable arm of Corbin Hayden was all it needed to advance to the semifinals.

Just a freshman, Hayden allowed only three hits and struck out 10 in going the distance to lead the Comets past St. Mary on Wednesday, 3-1.

"It wasn't a surprise to us. When he pounds the zone, that's his potential," Carlisle head coach Hunter Burge said of Hayden. "When he attacks, we feel like he's pretty tough even for a freshman. I felt confident with him today."

Carlisle mustered only one hit off Vikings ace John MacCauley, who struck out 14 batters for the game, but took advantage of two errors and and a hit batter in the third inning to plate all three of its runs.

The only hit for the Comets was a big one, as Trevor Elder ripped a ball to left field to score the first two runs of the game before an error scored another.

When Brady Merrill drove in the Vikings' lone run in the sixth inning and the Vikings loaded the bases, Burge still had plenty of faith in his freshman hurler to finish off St. Mary.

"I just felt like it was his game. I wasn't trying to save pitching or hold pitching, but I felt like it was his moment and he wanted the ball," Burge said. "I was a pitcher, so I like to trust my guys in situations like that."

Hayden struck out Sam Bell to strand the bases loaded in the sixth inning, and after St. Mary put its leadoff man on in the next frame, he retired the next three batters to send Carlisle to the semifinals.

With the win, Carlisle will live to see another day in All "A" play and will face Mayfield tonight at 7:30.

"Pitching and situational hitting wins championships, and our pitching was good tonight. Corbin set the tone tonight and hopefully it carries over tomorrow," Burge said.

---

St. Mary 000 001 0 1 3 3

Carlislw 003 000 x 3 1 2

WP: Hayden, LP: MacCauley

2B: None. 3B: None. HR: None. Top hitters: StM-Merrill 1-3 (RBI); C-Elder 1-3 (2 RBI). Records: St. Mary 4-5, Carlisle County 7-6.

Hickman Co. 8, Ballard 6

In the All "A" nightcap, Hickman County took advantage of Ballard Memorial miscues in the fourth inning to win 8-6.

After Ballard scored four runs in the top of the fourth inning to take a 4-3 lead, the Falcons went right to work in the bottom of the frame to take back control. The first four batters of the inning drew walks, with Sam Gallimore having the big hit of the inning when his rocket up the middle scored two to put the Falcons ahead 6-4.

The Bombers went through three pitchers in that pivotal fourth inning, and the Falcons roughed up each one. A bases-loaded walk and wild pitch brought in two more runners to give Hickman the four-run lead.

It was plenty for Sam Armbruster, who pitched the first five innings for the Falcons until they went to their bullpen late. Rob Simpson and Parker Estes finished off the Bombers with their combined two innings of pitching.

Only one of the Bombers' runs were earned, as they also took advantage of miscues in their big fourth inning. They batted around in the fourth, before Hickman did the same to take over the game for good.

With its win, Hickman County advances to tonight's semifinals to take on Murray. That game will begin at 5:30 p.m., with Mayfield vs. Carlisle following it.

---

Ballard 000 402 0 6 5 1

Hickman 003 500 x 8 3 2

WP: Armbruster, LP: Parrott.

2B: BM-Howle. 3B: None. HR: None. Top hitters: BM-T. Chandler 1-3 (2 R); H-Estes 2-3 (2 R, RBI), Gallimore 1-4 (2 RBI, 2 R). Records: Ballard Memorial 2-8, Hickman County 3-3.

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