Harrison County’s Thorobreds advanced to the Elite Eight Tuesday night with a 4-1 over Ryle High School’s Raiders.
Senior Brandon Kendall dominated the Raider hitters all night by painting the corners with his curve and throwing the ball by the 9th Region champion’s hitters when he needed a big strike out.
The second inning gave the Breds all the runs they would need as they scored three runs in the inning.
Zach Royce led off with a drive to left that Ryle’s left fielder Mason Forbes made an outstanding over-the-shoulder catch on for the first out.
Designated hitter Alex Kinsey singled followed by a Cody Honeycutt walk and Brandon Case was hit by a Justin Hoard pitch to load the bases.
Catcher Robbie Stroub drove a liner over the second baseman to drive in the first Thorobreds’ run for an RBI single followed by Kendall aiding his own cause with a single that scored two for a 3-0 Harrison County lead after two innings.
Ryle scored its only run in the top of the third when senior third sacker Dillon Plvan singled with one out, advanced to second when Kendall walked senior catcher Jake Ashley and then to third on a passed ball.
Senior shortstop Tyler Lonneman bounced to second and Plvan came in to score on the fielder’s choice.
Kendall then fanned senior second baseman Jackson Brennan to end the inning and stop the Raider rally.
Ryle threatened again in the fourth with one out as designated hitter Tyler Mason walked and Thomas Baumann looped a single into left to put two men on with only one out. But Kendall settled down and struck out Tom Deters and Eric Clarkson to end the inning.
Ryle put only two more runners on base for the remainder of the game.
The first was wiped out by Stroub as he tried to steal second and the second was erased in a seventh-inning Case-to-Brett Persinger-to-Jordan Martin double play.
Harrison County added an insurance run in the sixth when Kinsey led off with his second single of the game and was advanced to second by a Honeycutt sacrifice bunt.
Case flied to center for the second out but Ryle’s shortstop Lonneman misplayed Noah Mitchell’s hard hit grounder allowing Kinsey to score from second for a 4-1 Harrison County lead.
“We talked in the dugout before the sixth inning at bat that an insurance run would be huge,” said Coach Mac Whitaker. “The boys just gritted it out and got us one.”
Kendall pitched the entire seven innings giving up three hits, walking three and striking out seven.
“We have two ace pitchers,” Whitaker said after the game in an interview. “Some people may have been concerned that we didn’t pitch Jordan (Martin) but there is little difference in the two of them.”
Kendall and Kinsey each had two hits with Kinsey scoring twice and Kendall batting in two runs.
Stroub’s RBI single was his only hit though the Ryle right fielder made a circus catch on a ball the sophomore catcher hit for the last out of the sixth inning.
The Ryle season ended with a 32-8 record while Harrison County (25-7) advances to Thursday’s 8:30 p.m. clash with Central Hardin. The Bruins (32-5) defeated Lone Oak 2-0 in Tuesday’s final game as pitcher Drew Harrington struck out 15 Purple Flash hitters.