PADUCAH – Mayfield struck quickly early. Hickman County did likewise at the end.
It was there that accounted for the difference as the Falcons rallied in the final two innings to edge the Cardinals in the First Region Baseball Tournament Saturday, 7-5, at Brooks Stadium.
Mayfield got a pair of runs in the first inning and concluded its scoring in the second before turning to its pitching and defense to keep Hickman County at bay. In the fifth frame, though, the Falcons began to pick up steam and runs to overtake the Cardinals.
“I don’t think we got comfortable,” Mayfield coach Richard Collins said. “I just think things didn’t work out our way in that last part. We had a couple of hits and a couple of errors. They did a good job staying in the game and coming back on us.”
The Falcons advance to Monday’s regional semifinals to face McCracken County, a five-inning, 11-1 winner over Calloway County. The other semifinal will pit Paducah Tilghman against Marshall County.
The Cards opened with two outs but plugged along to eventually score twice in the first inning. Dominic Thomas reached on an error by Hickman County’s shortstop, then advanced to second on a fielder’s choice that scored courtesy runner Reed Swindler. Later, Charlie Sims drew a bases loaded walk for the 2-0 lead.
In the next inning, Kent Trey Matthews scored from third base on a hit to right field by Connor Guthrie, who eventually scored on a single to left by Thomas. Ben Gloyd sacrifice to short then scored Swindler to lead, 5-0.
Mayfield would leave the bases loaded in the third, and had Gloyd picked off trying to steal third in the fourth frame. The Cardinals would finish with 11 hits.
Meanwhile, starting pitcher Guthrie was locked in. He threw 5 2/3 innings and allowed just one hit going into the bottom of the sixth. He would account for three hits and three earned runs.
“We were still putting the ball in play. There were some times we didn’t get some runs in that we should have,” Collins said. “Maybe I left Connor in too long, but he’s doing a good job of pitching, going in there and breezing along.
“We had a couple of errors behind him, but he’s still throwing strikes and working so it’s tough for me to take him out when I know he’s a competitor,” he added.
Colin Price came in to relieve in the sixth with a 5-4 lead after the Falcons had scored three runs in the fifth inning and tacked on another with two outs in the sixth. Sam Armbruster’s 2 RBI double capped Hickman County’s comeback.
Ethan Couch went 2-for-3 and Guthrie and Thomas were both 2-for-4. Guthrie also marked a double.
Mayfield ends its season at 11-23-1 with losses to graduation of Couch, Guthrie, Thomas and Matthews.
“We’ve got good kids coming back, got a good young group coming up,” Collins said. “I expect us to get better.”