Baseball: Somerset 13, Lincoln 10

Tyler Poynter of Lincoln is congratulated by Patriot coach Brad McNew as he rounds third base after his sixth-inning grand slam in a late rally by the Patriots in Monday┬┐s 13-10 loss to Somerset. Click on Ky. X-TRA app on photo above with your cell phone for additional pictures from game. (Nancy Leedy / nancy@theinteriorjournal.com / May 13, 2013)

STANFORD — Baseball fans had to do a double take when they looked at the scoreboard Monday after Lincoln pinch hitter Tyler Poynter banged out a grand slam home run in the bottom of the sixth inning.

Was the scoreboard correct? Had the Patriots actually battled their way back from an 11-1 deficit to challenge Somerset 11-10?

The answer to both questions was yes. Lincoln had almost erased the 10-run deficit with nine runs over the fifth and sixth innings, however, the Patriots came up short in the rally effort, falling 13-10 to the visiting Briar Jumpers.

“The fight we had coming back was impressive,” Lincoln coach Brad McNew said. “That’s something we hadn’t seen much this year. It was good to see that tonight. We really came back and made it a game.”

Somerset (20-10) scored 11 runs over the second, third and fourth innings to jump out to a 11-1 lead. But instead of letting the Briar Jumpers walk away with a five-inning win Lincoln (9-21) averted the 10-run mercy rule with a four-run effort in the bottom of the fifth.

Austin Greer was hit by Somerset starter Jacob Pelson to lead off the bottom of the fifth. Taylor Edwards came on to run for Greer, moved to second on a Tanner Leigh single and then to third on a Josh Wilson ground out before John Day tagged a single to deep centerfield to score him and Leigh. After a strikeout, Dylan King, who hit a solo home run in the second inning, walked on, and he and Day moved around when Pelson hit Zach Brown to load the bases. 

Day walked home when Pelson hit Austin Smith then Nolan Sanders singled to left field to plate King and make it 11-5. The Sanders hit marked the end of Pelson’s stint on the mound, with Jared Farris coming on. Farris got out of the inning on a Greer infield fly.

The Somerset pitching staff continued to hit and walk Lincoln in the bottom of the sixth inning, allowing the Patriots to cut further into the Briar Jumpers’ lead. Lincoln batters were walked eight times and hit seven.

After a leadoff pop out, Farris hit Wilson, walked Day and hit Boone Baird in order to load the bases.  Wilson scored on a wild pitch with King at the plate then Farris walked King to reload. That’s when Poynter, who had not taken a swing  all day, stepped up to the plate and delivered his grand slam shot over the left-field fence to make it an 11-10 ballgame.

McNew has cited Lincoln’s inability to get timely hits in past games, but the Patriots came through Monday despite getting just six hits for the game.

“We got some of those big hits tonight and that got us right back in it,” he said. “Poynter hadn’t swung all night then steps up there and hits the ball out of the ballpark. He got his chance to step up and did what he needed to do, and that was his first one of his varsity career. And John Day got a hit that scored runs. We just had a lot of fight. They put a lot of runners on, walks and hitting guys, and we were able to get some of those across. Here lately we hadn’t been able to do a lot if that.” 

 Somerset added to its lead in the top of the seventh, with Pelson and Charlie Dishman scoring a run apiece. Pelson doubled to reach and Dishman, who had a solo home run in both the third and fourth innings, was intentionally walked. With two outs, Bryson Jones, who was 3-for-4, singled to center to drive in both runners to give the Briar Jumpers a 13-10 lead.

Somerset thwarted Lincoln’s comeback effort in the bottom of the seventh, with Dishman coming on in the inning and striking out the Patriots in order to end the game.

“To win games you’ve got to get big hits, and we made it a game there. And then he brings Charlie in and Charlie’s a pretty good arm. He hit the two home runs, and he pitches as well as he hits,” McNew said.

Somerset banged out 13 hits off Sanders and reliever Tanner Leigh, including nine hits as they jumped ahead 11-1.

Jones led off the top of the second with a double, advanced on a Heath Ehrsam bunt then scored on a Kenny Spear fly out. Logan Ramsey, who walked on, scored on a Lincoln throwing error off a Chandler Purcell hit. Ehrsam scored on a Caleb Dockery hit and Purcell made it 4-0 with a steal off a wild pitch.

After King’s solo home run for Lincoln in the bottom of the second, Somerset went back to work cushioning its lead. Dishman led off with a home run, Spear connected for a double to score Logan Combs, and Purcell drove in Ehrsam and Spear with an RBI-double.

Dishman repeated with a home run in the top of the fourth then Spear collected two more RBIs, scoring Combs and Ramsey.

“We played about as bad as we could have for two or three innings, and Somerset is another good-hitting team we bring in here,” McNew said. “We faced them in the region tournament last year. They hit the ball. I know that they are going to score runs, it’s just a matter of keeping them at bay. We made a few blunders that gave them some extra runs.”

The Lincoln mentor said he was pleased with the effort by the Patriots against the Briar Jumpers, with the district tournament just days away. Danville is hosting the tournament and Lincoln plays the district’s top seed, Boyle County, Monday at 5:30 p.m.

“It’s all about preparing this week for next Monday,” he said. “We knew we wanted to have a good game, and we fought hard. We really came back to make this a game tonight. Hopefully next Monday we’re celebrating a win.”