The Russell County Lakers (30-6) are set to take on the Woodford County Yellow Jackets (26-13) tomorrow in the semifinals of the state tournament.
The Yellow Jackets defeated Boyd County (26-10) 10-3 in the quarterfinals and DeSales (25-15) by a score of 12-9 in the opening round.
The Yellow Jackets have had an interesting road on their way to the state semifinals. Woodford County came into postseason play on a four-game losing streak, but the team has been on a tear ever since district tournament play began.
Their closest postseason game has been a two-run win over Oldham County in the opening round of the 8th Region tournament, and of their seven postseason wins, six have been by three or more runs.
Woodford County is led on the mound by junior pitcher Cole Dycus, who was recently named second-team all-state.
Dycus (jersey No. 16) comes into Friday’s matchup with a 9-1 record in 13 starts. In 65 innings pitched, he has a 0.97 ERA with 98 strikeouts compared to 26 walks. He has only allowed 38 hits and 15 runs (nine earned).
The Yellow Jackets’ ace is tied for fourth in the state in wins, ranks 14th in strikeouts, 17th in ERA, and 22nd in innings pitched.
Offensively, the Yellow Jackets hit .272 as a team. Woodford County has three players with a batting average of at least .300 at the plate this season (minimum 25 games played): sophomore Collin Kemp (No. 44), senior Bryce Patterson (No. 9), and sophomore Taylor Penn (No. 35).
Kemp leads the team with 42 hits, 32 RBI, 10 doubles and a .359 batting average (BA). In 117 at-bats, he has only struck out nine times.
Patterson, a Morehead State football commit, is the team leader with four home runs, 20 walks, and 34 runs. He has 40 hits on the season, with 29 RBI, six doubles, a .357 BA, and 12 stolen bases on 13 attempts.
Penn has a .336 BA on the season, recording 36 hits, 23 RBI, and nine doubles.
The trio is tied with a team-high three triples.
Junior Brandon Rankin (No. 5) is the team leader in stolen bases, with 22 on only 24 attempts. He’s hitting .287, with 33 hits, 33 runs, and 15 RBI.
The Yellow Jackets are coached by Paul D. Patterson.
The Russell County-Woodford County game will take place Friday, June 10, at 11:30 a.m. Central time at Kentucky Proud Park in Lexington.
The winning team will move on to the state finals to take on the McCracken County-St. Xavier winner on Saturday, June 11, at 6 p.m. Central time, also at Kentucky Proud Park.