Cougars drop 3-2 heartbreaker to Cumberland Gap

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By Dwane Wilder

Campbell County came close to getting its first baseball victory Friday against visiting Cumberland Gap.

However, the Panthers held on to defeat the winless Cougars, 3-2, in seven innings at Brown-Archer Field.

With Cumberland Gap trailing 1-0 in the top of the third inning, Zack Baughcum drove in a run with a double and later scored on an error to push the Panthers over the top, 2-1. Jaden Guy capped the scoring with an RBI double in the top of the fifth inning.

Both teams left eight runners stranded on base during the game. Campbell County committed three errors.

“We shot ourselves in the foot two or three times,” said new Cougars’ head coach Brad Collette.

“We had our chances, but we did things to take ourselves out the game.”

Senior shortstop Blake Potter got on base with a single in the bottom of the first inning. Justin Willoughby sent a ball to the fence in left field to score Potter for a 1-0 Campbell County lead. Joe Goins got a base hit to advance Willoughby to third, but both were left stranded as the inning came to a close.

It stayed that way until the third inning, when Baughcum drove in Seth Sharp to tie the game 1-1 with two out.

The Cougars rallied in the bottom of the fifth inning but couldn’t overtake the Panthers. Andrew Dykes scored on a sacrifice by Willoughby to get Campbell County within one, 3-2. The Cougars left runners stranded on second and third.

Josh Lorens, who pitched into the fifth inning, was credited with the victory. Colby Cannon saw action in a relief role for the Panthers.

Dykes, a lefty, suffered the loss. He went 6 2/3 innings before being replaced by Potter in the top of the seventh. Potter made a spectacular diving catch of a line drive for the second out in the top of the sixth inning.

“We’ve got to get that effort every game if we’re going to get better,” said Collette.

It was a marked change in direction for the Cougars, who were coming off a 15-0 loss to District 3-AAA rival Powell just two days earlier.

Chris Hutson had two base hits and Goins one for Campbell County. Jordan Sanford highlighted Powell’s victory with a solo home run.

The Cougars opened up this week’s spring break schedule with a 14-6 loss at Karns on Monday. Down 13-2 after four innings, Campbell County scored four runs in the top of the fifth inning to make it respectable. Willoughby had a double for the Cougars.

The two teams were scheduled to meet again on Tuesday at CCHS.