By DOUG EADS
In their two previous meetings this season, Rockcastle County had simply owned Somerset, outscoring the Briar Jumpers 20-6 in those two meetings.
However on Tuesday night in round three for the 47th District Baseball Tournament championship at Pulaski County High School, the above fact meant absolutely nothing.
And Phil Grundy’s club certainly played like it.
Somerset banged out 11 hits in the win, took advantage of seven Rockcastle County errors, and got a solid effort on the mound from Dylan Burton, who pitched 5 1/3 innings to get the win.
Kade Grundy went a perfect 3-3 at the plate with a double and a homerun, while driving in three runs, Chance Stayton doubled twice, and Pancho Zaragoza doubled and singled in a pair of runs, as Somerset rolled to a 14-1 beatdown over The Rock in a game when it mattered the most.
Yes, you can call the Briar Jumpers district champs for this year.
“During the regular season, we had Danville in the All A the week we played Rock, so that kind of put us in a little bit of a bad position with our pitching,” stated a very happy coach Grundy after Tuesday night’s contest.
“We’ve got four terrific pitchers right now, and we’ve got three or four more that are really close,” continued the Somerset head coach. “We threw four pitchers this week in the district tournament, and all four of them are sophomores. If we score runs, we’re fun to watch and fun to coach.”
Well, coach Grundy for one had to be having fun on Tuesday night in the district title game against the Rockets.
His son — Kade Grundy — ignited Somerset from the get-go, and it was all Briar Jumpers in this one almost from the outset.
Grundy greeted Rockcastle County starter and loser Hunter Spivey with a leadoff single in the top half of the first inning, and he would score run number one of the night thanks to a single off the bat of Gavin Stephens for a 1-0 Somerset lead.
In the top of the second, a double from Grundy would drive in a pair of runs for a 3-1 Somerset lead, and The Rock would get no closer.
Somerset blew this one open with a five-spot in the fifth inning, taking advantage of three Rockcastle County errors, for a 10-1 lead at that juncture.
The inning before, it was Grundy who had padded the lead to 5-1 thanks to a two-run blast to right field off of Spivey.
Meanwhile, Dylan Burton was getting the job done on the mound for Somerset.
Burton allowed six hits in his 5 1/3 innings of work on the mound, but he kept Rock off of the scoreboard with eight strikeouts, allowing the Rockets only the one run in the bottom of the first inning.
“It’s a big deal for us to win the district,” pointed out Grundy.
“It had been a couple of years since we had won it, and I was starting to think that maybe we weren’t doing the right things, but this tells me the future is bright for this group, and hopefully we’ll go on to the regional tourney and compete for a title.”
With the win, Somerset moved to 19-12 on the season, while Rockcastle County fell to 21-12 with the loss.
Both teams will advance to the 12th Regional Baseball Tournament which will get underway on Saturday afternoon at Southwestern High School.
Check out The Doug Out on Friday, for the complete bracket with times, matchups, etc.