KNIGHTS make HISTORY!!!!!
KNIGHTS make HISTORY!!!!
If I would have told you that the Marion County baseball team would be 5th Region Champions in 2017, you might think that a bit absurd. If I would have told you that Nelson County would make a run at the 5th Region Championship after a slow ending to the 19th District schedule, you might think that a little optimistic.
Yet here they were, both still left standing after all the dust had cleared playing for a chance to make a trip to Lexington next week for the KHSAA State Tournament.
In a season in which everyone was even and anything could happen, it did. Starting with Bardstown’s upset (you might call it that) win over 17th District and reigning Region champion Elizabethtown in the first round. Meanwhile, Central Hardin, the other team from the powerful 17th District knocked off the team everyone picked to win the 5th Region Tournament in LaRue County. With that out of the way and the knowledge that there would be a NEW 5th Region Champion in baseball, the fun REALLY began as Marion County, who beat Hart County in 5-innings 14-4 got a great pitching performance by Andrew Spalding and Nelson County prevented the Bruins from getting any further behind pitcher Dominic Lawson’s 3-hit performance in a 6-1 win. It was Lawson, who coincidently saved the first round win over Campbellsville by pitching the last inning of a 7-6 win and picked up a save.
Now for the first time in a long time the 5th Region Championship would NOT have a 17th District team as Marion County (20th) and Nelson County (19th) would play for the title. With a strong home field advantage (The Region Tourney was held at Marion County), the Knights came out fast and quick against Nelson County starter Collin Runner getting three runs in the first and continually putting pressure on the defense the entire game. The Knights scored in every inning putting up 10-runs in five innings giving starter junior Luke Thomas all the advantage he needed as he scattered two hits in a 10-0 win.
To understand the gravity of the situation, you have to look at where these two teams came from. Nelson County was adjusting to new (old) head coach David Sparrow, who moved up as the top guy when Kelly Wood left the program at the beginning of the season. The Cardinals had their moments, but had plenty of bad ones to sporting a 16-18 record going into the District Tournament, but then everything came together as the Nelson County won their next three playoff games as the pitching staff threw three straight shutouts winning the final against Bardstown. It was the first District Title for the team since 2010 and they adopted the motto “One Heartbeat.” It set up the team with 10-seniors a chance to go out on a high note.
Meanwhile, Marion County had not been a power player in the sport since 2002 when they reached the Region Semi-finals and just two seasons ago the Knights were 7-22 in 2015. Last season, Marion County improved to 18-20 under coach Patrick Campbell (who was voted 5th Region Coach of the Year) losing to Central Hardin in the Region first round 3-2. This season, they sported a 23-6 record going into the Region Tournament were an oddity. The question being “WERE THEY FOR REAL?”
Well, they are and now with a solid pitching staff will face the Region 14 representative next Thursday at 11 am for the chance to prove some more people wrong and continue to make history.