STANFORD — The Lincoln County baseball team was just two outs away from victory when Garrard County started waving the rally cap.
The Golden Lions clawed their way back after six scoreless innings to deny the Patriots, with J.T. Lyon banging out a three-run home run to highlight a five-run seventh inning as Garrard defeated Lincoln 5-2 in the final 45th District game of the regular season.
“It’s disappointing and it’s frustrating,” Lincoln coach Brad McNew said. “But it’s hard to win a game 1-0. I told them you treat that inning totally different if you’re up two or three runs, and we weren’t.”
Lyon’s three-run shot gave Garrard its first lead of the game and helped the Lions avenge an earlier 10-2 loss to Lincoln. The finish also set the final standings for the 45th District Tournament later this month. Boyle is the number one seed with Garrard (14-12, 3-3) and Danville tied for second. Lincoln (8-17, 1-5) finished fourth.
Logan Teague reached on a Lincoln fielding error to open the seventh-inning Garrard rally. After a ground out by Chris McSorley, Lincoln starter Nolan Sanders was replaced by Zach Brown. Brown gave up a single to Evan Smith then Garrard evened the game up at 1-all when McSorley scored on a TJ Midkiff ground out.
Garrard had runners on the corners after McNew intentionally walked Ronnie Saylor for a second time in the game. That’s when Lyon stepped to the plate and delivered his three-run shot over the left field fence to clear the bases and make it a 4-1 ballgame. Seth Murphy then reached on a double to left and was driven in by a Matt Wilburn double to the same spot for a 5-1 Lion lead.
“We had a play there to end it, and that didn’t happen,’ McNew said. “We walked Ronnie there then J.T. came up and he made a big hit. They got a big hit when they really needed it. When they turned the order there, we were already planning to bring Zach in. He left the ball up there and J.T. just hit it right out.”
Lincoln scored one run in the bottom of the inning, with pinch runner Logan Young scoring on a Tanner Leigh single, but Garrard’s Logan Teague came on after 6-1/3 innings to shut down Lincoln and earn the save for Matt Wilburn with a strikeout and a fly out. Wilburn and Teague gave up just three hits to Lincoln.
Garrard got eight hits off Sanders and Brown, including two doubles by Murphy and a single and a double by Wilburn.
Lincoln ended a defensive standoff in the bottom of the fourth to take the lead. Sanders led off the at-bat with a walk and moved around to second on a ground out before he was replaced by pinch runner Nate Benson. Benson advanced to third base on a Josh Wilson single then was driven in by Dylan King.
Wilson went out on a force out off an Austin Greer blooper then Wilburn got out of the inning on a ground out.
Lincoln’s 1-0 lead would only hold until the top of the seventh when Garrard pulled out off comeback effort.
“Nolan pitched his tail off. Our defense was exceptional,” McNew said. “That’s been our backbone, pitching and defense. We had another good game tonight until that very last inning when they just came up with some big hits.”
With the district regular season behind them, McNew said the Patriots can concentrate on preparing for Boyle in the tournament.
“We know who we’ve got now and that’s all we were looking for. It’s all about getting prepared for Boyle County right now,” he said. “Right now we are focused on improving the best we can from here to there. Hopefully that one night we’re better than them.”