Cody Luttrell needed only 77 pitches and a single run of support to dispatch a 29-win team Saturday. The southpaw shut out a powerful Beechwood squad to secure Russell County a spot in the state semifinals.
The currently-uncommitted 2022 grad scattered just four hits and struck out eight against a team that finishes its own impressive season with a 29-7 record. He did not issue a walk, facing only three batters over the minimum thanks to some stellar defense and backstop Isaac Roy gunning down a would-be base stealer at second.
“We knew Beechwood could swing the bat—they’ve got seven guys hitting over .400,” Laker head coach David Rexroat said after the win. “They’re a top five team in the state of Kentucky, but we knew we had Cody on the mound. [He went] 11-0 all year, kept us in ball games, I just didn’t know it was going to be 1-0.”
The longtime head coach said that given the Tigers’ prowess at the plate, he expected a few more runs from both teams.
“I thought if we win this ballgame, it’s going to be a 7-5, 4-3, 5-4 game, or something like that,” he explained. “Hats off to Cody; he pitched a heck of a ballgame, and my pitching coach did a great job calling the game today.”
Luttrell’s dominant performance lowered his already miniscule earned run average to 0.50 through more than 70 innings this season. He was not as surprised as his coach that he found so much success.
“I knew coming into this—I was feeling great in the bullpen and I knew it was going to translate in-game,” Luttrell said.
The game’s star was quick to share the credit, lauding his team’s glovework while acknowledging Beechwood adjusted and made harder contact later in the game.
“Once again I’ve got to thank everybody, all my guys—that last inning especially—made some great defensive plays,” Luttrell said. “They were aggressive. If I threw it in the zone, they’d hit it. Especially that last inning, they were ready, they knew I was throwing strikes, and they were ready to hit the ball.”
Russell County was only slightly better at the plate than their opponents, outhitting the Tigers 6-4, but it was enough.
Roy, the senior cleanup hitter, led off the second inning with an infield single, and courtesy runner Alex Reynolds would eventually come around to score on a sacrifice bunt from Evan Hammond.
The Lakers threatened again in the fifth—when Hammond led off the inning with a double—and in the sixth, when Nathan Lawson and Roy smacked back-to-back doubles to right field, but left runners stranded both times.
The win improves Russell County’s record to 30-6 and sets up a matchup with Woodford County for a chance to play for a state championship. The Region 8 champs are 26-13 on the season and knocked off DeSales and Boyd County in the opening two rounds of state. The game is set for this coming Friday at 12:30 p.m. ET (11:30 a.m. CT) in Lexington, at UK’s Kentucky Proud Park.
All stats are unofficial at this time, but this post will be amended to include the box score as soon as it is available.