Penick, Taylor lead Logan County past South Warren
Logan County’s bats were most certainly working on Tuesday.
Behind 14 hits and scoring runs in all but two innings, the Cougars earned a marquee 9-4 Region 4 road win over South Warren at South Warren Ballpark.
“We’ve been hitting the ball extremely well the last few games,” Logan County coach Ethan Meguiar said. “Bradley (Taylor) is having an incredible senior season. He’s really been tearing it up.”
In a dominant offensive outing, Taylor led the way for Logan County (21-8, 10-3 Region 4) with a 4-for-5, four RBI performance – which included a pair of two-run home runs. Alongside Taylor, Koby Wall went 2-for-4 with a pair of RBI while eight Cougars each finished with hits.
Dylan Penick started on the mound for Logan for the first time in 2018 and tossed eight strikeouts while allowing four runs with five hits in 5.1 innings of work. In addition to his pitching production, Penick also recorded a hit on the evening.
“We’re tickled to death with Dylan,” Meguiar said. “This was his first start of the season. He’s been dealing with the ACL injury. He’s worked real hard to get back to this point. We finally got him out there for a full start trying to get him ready for the District (13) Tournament.”
“South Warren is very good this year. They’ve been hitting the ball well,” Penick said. “Just grateful that I could come out and throw like I did after ACL surgery for my first outing.”
The Cougars jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the opening inning and built a 6-2 advantage in the sixth. South Warren (21-10, 13-5) got within 6-4 in the sixth, but that’s as close as it would be able to get as Logan County used a pair of seventh-inning home runs to seal it and snap the Spartans’ 11-game win streak.
Both sides return to action on Thursday at 6 p.m., as Logan County hosts Muhlenberg County and South Warren travels to Christian County.
Logan County couldn’t have asked for a better start.
“It felt real good,” Taylor said of the win. “I’m seeing the ball real well and it’s all I can ask for.”
Behind three hits right off the bat, the Cougars plated a pair of quick runs to build a 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning. After Taylor led off with a single, Wall followed up with a triple into the right corner to score the runner and make it 1-0.
Just after Wall’s big hit, Austin Rayno delivered an RBI double to centerfield to double Logan’s advantage.
South Warren responded with a blast from Jacob Lacey in the bottom of the second. With two outs, the power hitter connected on a fastball down the middle and completely sent it over the right field wall to help the Spartans cut their deficit to 2-1.
Logan County fired right back in the ensuing frame, using another trio of hits and a nice hit from Third Bell to plate another run. Following Rayno’s single, Bell perfectly laid a single down the left field line to send Rayno home and put the Cougars up 3-1.
“I was really tickled that our guys continued to battle and put us in some situations to score because South Warren is a good offensive team and can come back on you at anytime,” said Meguiar. “I was really glad that our guys kept attacking. We had a lot of two-out hits and scored some runs.”
A miscue from the Cougars helped South Warren score its second run of the evening in the bottom half of the third. With Hunter Evans and Cannon McDaniel both on after back-to-back walks, a throwing error helped McDaniel score from second and brought the Spartans to within one.
Quite similar to the inning prior, the Cougars’ bats helped them answer yet again.
After Penick was walked, Taylor unloaded for a two-run shot over the wall in left field to extend Logan County’s lead to 5-2. The Cougars later pushed their advantage to 6-2 in the top of the sixth with an RBI sacrifice fly from Wall, but South Warren wasn’t going down without a fight.
“It got close there. It was close,” South Warren coach Chris Gage said. “Our offense battled back a little bit and showed a little fight. Just one or two more timely hits and I think we (could’ve tied it). We didn’t execute like we needed to.”
Lacey, coming up big again for the Spartans, doubled into left to plate a pair and cut his team’s deficit from 6-2 to just 6-4 at the end of six complete innings.
Despite his production – which included a 2-for-3 showing with three RBI – Logan County earned another two-run shot from Taylor and a solo bomb from Kaleb Justice to go up 9-4 and put South Warren away for good.
“(We) just had to stay in the game and keep playing the way we’d been playing the whole game,” said Taylor.