When high school baseball teams play springtime scrimmage games, no official score is kept on the scoreboard.
So anyone entering Don Lee Field late in last Saturday’s scrimmage game against the Franklin-Simpson Wildcats might have mistaken that 0-0 score there as a sign of a tight game.
But for those keeping score, the book would have told a far different story as the young Cougars took it on the chin from a senior-laden Wildcat team to the tune of 19-2.
The Wildcats return 12 seniors from a team that reached the State Championship in Lexington last season and they played like it was midseason already.
For the Cougars, only three seniors and three juniors are available for head coach Danny Clark. Four pitchers went to the mound for Clark and they wound up giving the 19 runs, 10 of which were earned, on 15 hits, eight walks and three errors.
Grayson County was still within striking distance entering the seventh inning as they trailed 7-2, but two Cougar pitchers gave up 12 runs, just three of them earned, to turn the game into a rout.
Senior Braxton Hodges started for the Cougars and pitched well into the third inning. He gave up a single run in the first after the infield umpire allowed a Wildcat runner attempting to steal second to go well outside the baseline to avoid the tag.
Hodges then worked a 1-2-3 second inning before running into trouble in the third, when he gave up three runs on four hits. He struck out six and walked one.
Sophomore Cain Smith took the mound in the fourth and wildness hurt him immediately when he allowed three runs on two hits and three walks. He then worked a scoreless fifth inning.
Junior Noah Bullock worked a 1-2-3 sixth inning before the Wildcats touched him up for nine runs in the seventh. He had the leadoff batter struck out on a pitch in the dirt, but the ball got away from sophomore catcher Briley Napier, who threw wildly to first for an error.
Bullock plunked the next batter, then gave up an infield single on a near-perfect bunt to load the bases with no one out. Bullock retired the next batter for the first out, but then the sky fell in as the next seven batters reached base and nine runs came home.
Bullock was relieved by senior Rylee Shoemaker, who gave up three runs on two hits and a pair of walks before retiring the side.
The Cougars also had a long day offensively against four Wildcat pitchers. Grayson County tied the game 1-1 in the first inning when Bullock singled with one out, stole second base, then later scored on a single by the shortstop, Smith.
That would be all until the sixth inning, when Smith singled leading off, went to second on an errant throw, then scored on a two-out single by junior Andrew Haycraft. In all the Cougars managed just five hits.
Grayson County will open the season at home on Monday, March 19, when they host the Hancock County Hornets.
By Don Brown, Local Sports
Reach Don at firstname.lastname@example.org
Senior Braxton Hodges started for the Cougars and
allowed four runs on seven hits while striking out six.
Noah Bullock singled in the first, stole second,
and later scored the first Cougar run.
First baseman Rylee Shoemaker fielded a slow
roller in the first inning.
Shortstop Cain Smith took a throw from catcher
Briley Napier to cut down Franklin-Simpson runner
Clay Spears, who was attempting to steal second in the first inning.