The Russell County Lakers have learned who their opponent will be in the quarterfinals of the state tournament: the Beechwood Tigers (29-6).
The Tigers defeated Owensboro Catholic (30-5) 7-6 in extra innings during their first-round game. Senior third baseman Jackson Roseburrough (No. 18) hit a walk-off RBI in the eighth inning to pick up the victory for Beechwood and set up the Saturday tilt with the Lakers.
The Tigers are well-balanced, both offensively and defensively.
Beechwood has nine players with a batting average of at least .300 at the plate this season (minimum 25 games played).
Of those nine, five have an average of at least .400: Brice Estep (No. 2), Cameron Boyd (No. 19), Brett Holladay (No. 0), Mitchell Berger (No. 30), and Samuel Cottengim (No. 24).
Estep leads the team with a .475 average, 48 hits, 16 doubles, and 54 RBI, and he has only struck out nine times in 101 at-bats. He went 3-for-4 with a double and two RBI against Owensboro Catholic on Thursday night. The junior catcher is an Eastern Kentucky University commit for 2023.
The team rosters four players with at least five home runs — they have 38 total as a team — and Boyd leads them with 15. The junior outfielder also scored a team-high 55 runs and stole 17 bases on 19 attempts. In 111 at-bats, he recorded 45 hits, 37 RBI, and a .405 average.
Holladay, a senior outfielder, is tied with Boyd for a team-leading three triples. In 105 at-bats, he had 44 hits, 35, RBI, and a .419 average.
On the mound, the Tigers have four players with at least seven starts: Berger, Sam Stacy (No. 42), Matthew Kappes (No. 17), and Cottengim.
Berger leads the Tigers with 43 innings pitched — allowing 41 hits and 15 earned runs for a 2.44 ERA — 59 strikeouts, and went 7-0 this season. The junior is also an EKU commit for ’23 and went 4.2 innings with eight strikeouts against Owensboro Catholic.
Stacy pitched 38 innings this season, allowing 36 hits and 12 earned runs for a 2.21 ERA. He struck out 40 batters on the year, went 5-3, and added a save.
Kappes was one the mound for 34.1 innings this season, accruing a 6-1 record. He’s allowed 34 hits and 12 earned runs (2.45 ERA). With 35 strikeouts compared to only six walks, the junior holds a 5.83:1 K/BB ratio.
In 32 innings pitched, Cottengim has less than half as many strikeouts (17) as the other primary starters for Beechwood, but he holds an ERA of just 1.31. The senior allowed 35 hits on the year but just six earned runs. He is 5-0 on the season.
Torin O’Shea (No. 33), who picked up the win and had three strikeouts against Owensboro Catholic, recorded six saves and 11 total appearances on the year.
The Tigers are coached by Kevin J. Gray. They were the 9th Region champions and were runners-up in this year’s All “A” State Tournament.
Beechwood is 6th in the Prep Baseball Report (PBR) Kentucky Power 25 Rankings (as of the May 17 update).
The Russell County-Beechwood game will take place Saturday, June 4, at 12:30 p.m. Central time at Kentucky Proud Park in Lexington.
The winning team will move on to the state semifinals to take on the Boyd County-Woodford County winner on Friday, June 10, at 11:30 a.m. Central time, also at Kentucky Proud Park.
*Cumulative season stats do not include Beechwood’s victory over Owensboro Catholic, as stats were not posted at press time.