- Special Sections
- Public Notices
RADCLIFF — It took the LaRue County Hawks a little while to get their offense going in their season opener against the homestanding North Hardin Trojans on Tuesday, but after 2 2/3 hitless innings, it was smooth sailing.
With two outs in the top of the third, the Hawks drove in five runs, including a two-run homer by Keaton Gardner, and LaRue County cruised to a 10-0 win at James R. Aldridge Field.
“It feels awesome just to get out on the field and start playing and to have a solid defensive game,” said Gardner, a senior catcher. “We came out a little shaky and I think part of that was just first-game jitters. But after we got some hits we started getting some confidence.”
Senior Nick Williams reached base on an error to start the third inning and set up the Hawks’ rally. After two outs, senior Curtis Cox was hit by a pitch and both advanced into scoring position on a passed ball.
With a 2-0 count, junior Christian Seymour drove a line drive up the middle for a two-run single.
“That was a real big hit because it put us up 2-0 and it took a lot of pressure off,” LaRue County coach Chris Price said. “We had a runner in scoring position in the first inning and we couldn’t get him in, so we kind of had some pressure building up, but that hit gave us a lot of confidence. It was kind of an ice breaker.”
After Seymour eventually scored on a passed ball and junior Tyler Hornback reached base on an error, Gardner sailed a towering home run over the right-center field wall to extend the Hawks’ lead to 5-0.
“I knew I hit it hard, but I didn’t know it was going to be gone until I was rounding first base,” said Gardner, who got his first homer in over a year. “It felt real good.”
North Hardin (0-2) finally got out of the inning on a groundout to the pitcher, but not before LaRue County (1-0) had taken a firm grasp of the momentum.
“Two-out hits are always big because they not only help you, but they kill any confidence or momentum that the other team has,” Price said. “If you could choose, you would always want to two-out hits.”
And as if things weren’t hard enough on the Trojans already, LaRue County senior pitcher Aaron Mayfield wasn’t willing to give an inch.
Mayfield recorded eight strikeouts, while surrendering only three hits and no walks on his way to earning the win.
“We really struggled with the bats again tonight, but I thought (Mayfield) did a great job for them,” North Hardin coach Greg Gumm said. “Right now it just comes down to pitching for us. We have some guys who can get better, hopefully by the end of the year they will be pretty good.”
Senior Ethan Hughes took the loss for North Hardin, despite allowing two earned runs in four innings. Junior Levi Duncan took over in the fifth inning and struck out four before allowing one run in the seventh.
“I think Duncan did well when he got in there,” Gumm said. “We were down quite a bit already when he got in there. We just wanted to let him see some action, but he did pretty good.”
LaRue County extended its lead in the fourth inning, when junior Jay Eastridge and Alan Vass sandwiched a pair of walks around a bloop single by senior Evan Webb to load the bases.
Cox hit a line drive into Hughes’ shin to score Eastridge before Webb scored on an error later in the play.
Seymour got his third RBI of the game when he grounded out and Cox came in on a passed ball shortly after.
In the seventh inning, Seymour reached base on a walk before stealing second and third and coming home on a passed ball.
Senior Shawn Seymour closed the game for LaRue County, allowing no hits, while forcing three groundouts.
“This win was big, especially in the region,” Gardner said. “It makes sure that teams will have to give respect to us.”
LARUE COUNTY 10, NORTH HARDIN 0
R H E
LaRue County 005 400 1 10 4 2
North Hardin 000 000 0 0 3 4
Aaron Mayfield, Shawn Seymour (7) and Keaton Gardner. Ethan Hughes, Levi Duncan (5) and Jacob Hughes. WP: Mayfield (1-0). LP: Hughes (0-1). HR: Keaton Gardner (LC). UP NEXT: LaRue County plays at Louisville Male at 6 p.m. today. North Hardin plays at Washington County at 5:30 p.m. Friday.
Greg Crews can be reached at 505-1757