BY BRIAN DAVIS
The top two teams in the 13th District met for the first time this season last Tuesday night at Greg Shelton Field. Round one did not go as planned for the Franklin-Simpson Wildcats as they tried to overcome a five run deficit but cane up short in a 5-3 loss to the Logan County Cougars.
The Wildcats fell to 2-1 in the 13th District as the Cougars are on top of the district standings with a record of 3-0.
The winning pitcher was senior Dylan Penick. He pitched a complete game by allowing three runs on four hits with 14 strikeouts and two walks.
The losing pitcher was senior Cole Heinze. He pitched six innings allowing five runs on five hits with five strikeouts and walked three batters.
"Dylan (Penick) did a good job on the mound against us tonight," Wildcats head coach Kyle Gammons said. "He's been a good pitcher when he has not been injured and we have seen him many times from the 4th Region Tournament championship game a couple of years ago to last year's 13th District Tournament championship game and tonight, he was very good. He had a fastball that got into our hitters hands and that was the story of the night. It makes it tough when we are striking out that much, We just did not apply pressure to them in the first five innings and for us, we have to be better at that. "
The Cougars struck early in the top of the 1st inning. With one out and junior Braxton Meguiar, who led off the game with a single, on second, senior Koby Wall hit a two-run home run to right center field for a 2-0 lead.
Logan County took advantage of having bases loaded with no outs in the top of the 5th. Wall , who homered in his first at bat, hit a bases clearing three RBI double that scored senior Jacob Smock, Meguiar and junior Parker White, making the score 5-0.
The Wildcats gained momentum in the bottom of the 6th as Heinze got the first hit of the game with a bunt and the throw to first resulted in a two base error allowing him to advance to third. Sophomore Dalton Fiveash hit an opposite field RBI single to left, scoring Heinze, making the score 5-1. With two outs and runners at second and third, sophomore Dawson Owens delivered a two RBI double to right center field that scored freshman Ben Banton, who was a pinch runner for Fiveash, and senior Jacob Curtis, cutting their deficit down to 5-3.
"I think he (Penick) got a little tired and was able to get after him a little bit," Gammons said. "He was striking out a bunch of guys so his pitch count was up and so I threw an idea to Cole (Heinze) and he is always looking to bunt and with a simple play like that,it can turn things around for us. We got a rally going. Dawson (Owens) got a nice two RBI hit and got things rolling for us."
"Our hats off to them for doing whatever they can to break up the no-hitter and we would have done the same thing," Cougars head coach Ethan Meguiar said. "Just try to bounce the pitcher off the mound a bit and see if he could make a play. That got them fired up and it's always going to be a good game anytime these two teams play each other."
Franklin-Simpson pressured Penick in their final at bat in the bottom of the 7th as they had runners at first and second but could not take advantage of the opportunity as Logan County held on for the 5-3 victory.
"Koby (Wall) had a huge night at the plate by driving in five runs and a great outing on the mound by Dylan (Penick),"Meguiar said. "He was pretty dominant on the mound with 14 free outs, we'll take that every time. Had a no-hitter going and throws a bunt play a way and lost his composure. That got the Wildcats fired up there but he did settle back in and for a couple of big strikeouts in the 6th. And we could have had a clean 7th inning if we didn't throw the ball away."
The Wildcats and Cougars will play their second 13th District game coming up on May 7 at Cougar Field at Logan County High School.
LC 200 030 0 5 5 1
F-S 000 003 0 3 4 0
WP- Penick 7 IP 3 R 4 H 14 K 2 BB
LP- Heinze 6 IP 5 R 5 H 5 K 3 BB