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Pineville-Bell downs Clay County 18-16

The Pineville-Bell 9-10 All-Stars were in Hazard over the weekend, playing in the little league all-star district tournament. Pineville-Bell defeated Clay County, 18-16, in the first round to advance.

After starting the game with a 9-2 lead, Pineville-Bell was able to hold off an aggressive comeback from Clay County that lasted all the way into the sixth inning.

“We came out hitting the ball really well,” said Pineville-Bell coach Clay Carroll. “I felt like our pitching kind of slacked off a little bit there at the end, but they stuck with it and gutted it out and were able to close the game out with a win. We weren’t even supposed to make it this far, but here we are having a blast.”

Pineville-Bell got off to a great start, with their first six batters all recording a single or better. Kordell Partin got things started with a single, followed by a stolen base. Lane Brigman drove Partin in for Pineville-Bell’s first run of the game (1-0).

Brayden Carroll stepped to the plate and delivered a single, leaving two runners on base. Ty Mays loaded the box and connected on a two-RBI double to right field (3-0).

Jacob Grubbs added a single before Logan Green was able to connect on an RBI single, driving in Pineville-Bell’s fourth run in their first six at-bats.

Steven Hoover was the first out for Clay County, as he was struck out swinging. Bentley Fuson added another hit for Pineville-Bell on a single before Logan Craig drove in two runs on an RBI double, extending the lead to 6-0 early in the game.

Making their way through the lineup, Partin made it back to the plate but was struck out swinging in his second at-bat. Brigman and Carroll added one more run each and another was walked in to give Pineville-Bell a 9-0 lead.

Clay County was able to add two runs in the bottom of the first. Carson Collett was struck out swinging as Clay County’s lead-off batter before Trey Crawford was walked. Aiden Lovett drove in a run on an RBI triple and was able to steal home, giving Clay County their two runs for the inning.

Pineville-Bell maintained a well-cushioned lead into the top of the fourth, leading 15-7, before Clay County began their aggressive comeback.

Clay County battled back to within three runs by the bottom of the fifth inning, at 17-14. However, Pineville-Bell was able to close the game out in the bottom of the sixth inning to secure a two-run victory over Clay County and advance to the second round of the little league all-star district tournament.

“We are trying to build baseball back in our area,” said Carroll. “The first step was coming out of the area (tournament). I don’t know when the last time we beat Middlesboro was, but we did that and we were proud of them.”

“We’ve got a young bunch right here, and we are going to try to continue to build them up and make them better as much as we can. We’re going to do everything we can to stay with these guys, all the way up through school. This is a special bunch right here and we are incredibly proud of them.”