Taylor County baseball came into its 5th Region Tournament semifinal game against Elizabethtown as the most recent region champion, having won it in 2019 in the season prior to the pandemic.

The Panthers made sure the Cardinals’ title defense ended Sunday evening at Bardstown High School.

After trailing briefly in the top of the first inning, Elizabethtown quickly took control and ultimately secured its spot in the 5th Region Tournament title game with a 9-1 semifinal victory.

The win also avenged a 7-6 regular season loss to Taylor County on April 23.

“I thought we played well, just all-around. (Jacob Moberly) threw well. Our defense played well, made some big double plays. We hit the ball and had some good two-strike approaches,” Elizabethtown coach Chase Greenwell said. “We just battled the entire game and never let up.”

An early Taylor County run in the top of the first was answered in the bottom of the inning. After Ryder Gregory was hit by a pitch and Eli Brown walked, Camden Williams came to the plate and knocked the ball over the fence for a three-run home run.

“I got a good pitch and I was looking for it. I was thinking first-pitch fastball and I just jumped on it,” Williams said of his home run. “I kind of had an idea. I thought it was too low to go out, but it ended up going out.”

Gregory would add to this lead in the next inning. After tripling on an error, he got home shortly after on a wild pitch to put Elizabethtown up 4-1.

The Panthers doubled their run total in the bottom of the fourth, adding four more to head into the next inning with an 8-1 lead. Three out of these four runs also came on two outs.

Moberly scored what would be the game’s final run in the bottom of the fifth inning, coming in off an outfield hit from Caleb Adams for a double.

On the mound since the game’s start, Moberly came off in the top of the seventh with the bases loaded and one out. Austin Jennings took his place and forced a pair of outfield pop outs, keeping Taylor County at one run and bringing the game to a close.

“Taylor’s a good ball club so we can’t overlook them, but our guys just came out hitting the ball and Cam was that jolt in the first inning,” Greenwell said. “We just kind of followed his lead from there.”

As a team, Elizabethtown finished the night with nine hits, including two each from Williams, Brown and Bryce Estes. Williams had four of the team’s seven RBIs.

Moberly finished with four strikeouts, six hits, one run and five walks through 6.1 innings.

The Panthers return to Bardstown tonight for the 5th Region Tournament title game, where they will face the tournament-host Tigers at 6:30 p.m. Bardstown defeated Campbellsville 5-4 in nine innings Sunday evening to reach the region championship.

Matt Tyson can be reached at 270-505-1425 or mtyson@thenewsenterprise.com.

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