In May 30 IssueBy Derek AaronRussell County News Editor
The Russell County Lakers defeated the Bowling Green Purples 8-3 at Nick Denes Field on the campus of Western Kentucky University to win their first 4th region tournament title on Wednesday night.
Senior ace Adam Black picked up the win on the mound for the Lakers, who fell behind early, 2-0, before rallying midway through the game and then finally tacking three runs on in the 6th inning to seal the Purples’ fate.
“It was a good night,” said Laker Head Coach David Rexroat. “It was a real good night.”
Rexroat said it was his team’s drive to win that pushed them to the region championship, and that began with their 16th district championship run last week.
“They didn’t quit,” he said. “They battled back and I knew when it got 4-2 there we had a shot and we just tried to punch a few more runs across.”
Rexroat said his team got all the effort they could out of Black before he was relieved by senior Cody Stephens late in the game.
“Cody came in and shut the door and our defense was just phenomenal,” he said. Rexroat, without singling out any one player, said several of his kids came through at the plate with two outs.
“We tried to put pressure on them all night bunting, hitting and running, and late in the game they made a few errors and we were able to score some more because of those,” he said.
The Purples ended the game with six errors, helping to bring on their demise late in the game.
Quinton Warriner ended the game 1-3 with one RBI and one run scored, Cody Stephens scored a run and picked up the save, Bryson McFall went 2-4 with one RBI, Tyler Robertson went 3-4 with three RBI and a run scored, Hunter Best went 1-4 with one RBI, Zach Carney went 1-3 with one RBI and Cody Coffey also scored a run. Sophomore Martin Cross also caught a great game behind the plate for the Lakers and junior Jordan Best played solid defense in centerfield.
Rexroat also commended his five seniors, Cody Stephens, Quinton Warriner, Adam Black, Chris Hammond and Cody Coffey, for their leadership during the championship run and throughout the season.
“Those guys don’t say a whole lot but they lead by example,” Rexroat said. “I can’t say enough about them and I’m just tickled to death for those guys, what a great thing to do in your senior year in winning a regional championship.”
The Laker coach, who coached the Lakers to a 4th regional runner-up in 2006, said capturing his first 4th region title was a major mark for the program.
“I’ve won the 12th (region) and now the 4th,” he said. “This one means a lot because we didn’t really expect win a regional championship, we just wanted to compete for one.”
The Lakers defeated Logan County, Warren Central and Bowling Green on their way to the trophy, the school’s first regional title since 2003 and their first since moving to the 4th region.
“They just did what we prepared them to do,” he said. “We told them ‘it is your time to shine,’ do your job and everything else will take care of itself.”
Coach Rexroat’s team now moves on to face the district 3 tournament winner, Owensboro, in semi-state action next Monday at 6 p.m. at Muhlenberg South High School. The game is the first in a best of three series with the second game on Tuesday at 6 p.m. while the third game, if necessary, will be Thursday at 6 p.m. as well.
“We just need to carry over what we did in the regional tournament,” he said.
“Play good defense, throw strikes and put a few runs on the board.”
He said the last four years, teams from the 16th district have made it further than any other teams in the region.
“Maybe they will give us a little credit now,” he said. Because now, the 16th district and the Lakers, have put everyone else on notice.