Senior Nick Aaron played a starring role in the Russell County Lakers’ 5-1 victory over Barren County in the first round of the 4th Region Tournament.
Aaron picked up the win on the mound, pitching a complete game while striking out seven batters and allowing only two hits and a run.
At the plate, Aaron went 2-for-3 with three RBI.
His performance wasn’t a surprise to his head coach, David Rexroat, who said he was proud of Aaron’s performance, especially on the mound.
“Nick has a history of being ready to go on the mound,” Rexroat said. “He’s pitched a lot of big games throughout his career, and I knew going in that we needed to have Nick ready. He was ready to go, hitting his spots, he got his curveball going, and he kept them off balance all night long.”
The scoring got started early for Russell County, taking a 3-0 lead after the first inning.
Barren County had its outfielders playing very shallow to start the game, and the Lakers took advantage of the opportunity.
Mayes Gosser hit a double over the centerfielder’s head, followed by an intentional walk of Nathan Lawson. Aaron drove both of them home with another double over the centerfielder’s head
“The last couple of times we played them, it seems like they do that,” Rexroat said of Barren County’s outfielder placement. “I guess they were just trying to take away the cheap little pop ups and flares that happen in high school baseball, but we made them pay for it.”
After Alex Reynolds came in as the courtesy runner for Aaron, Aidan Antle drove him home to take the 3-0 lead.
Barren County threatened in the third inning, scoring its lone run of the contest on a passed ball with two outs.
After two walks to load the bases, Barren County had the opportunity to take the lead, but Aaron forced a grounder back to himself that resulted in an easy out.
Aaron and Antle each added another RBI apiece in the third inning to take a 5-1 lead, and Barren County didn’t put another runner on base for the remainder of the game.
The Lakers garnered seven hits in the game, and Rexroat was happy with how often his team was putting the ball into play, even the at-bats that didn’t result in a hit.
“I felt like we swung the bats pretty good all night long,” he said. “A lot of our hits were right at them, it seemed like, and when we made outs, they were hard outs, so I’m very proud of our guys for that.”
Next up for the Lakers (26-6) is a matchup with Bowling Green (25-9) today at 5:30 p.m. at Western Kentucky University. The matchup — which is the region tournament semifinals — will be the first meeting between the teams this season.
“Obviously, Bowling Green is an outstanding ball club,” Rexroat said. “I think they’re (ranked) seventh or eighth in the state right now, so we’ve got our work cut out for us. We’ll be prepared and do the best we can when we head into Bowling Green.
“We just want to thank the community … for the support throughout the whole year, and we need a big crowd [tonight],” he added.