GOODY, Ky. – The last and only time Belfry had won a regional baseball tournament was back in 1961.
They’ll have to wait at least one more year to make it back to the state tournament.
Belfry was shutout by Prestonsburg 3-0 in the 15th Regional tourney played at the BHS field. A large crowd turned out for the championship game as fans from both schools brought folding chairs and the grandstand was packed to watch the two eastern Kentucky powers battle it out on the diamond.
“If you keep knocking on the door,” said Pirate coach Michael Hagy. “Eventually you’ll knock it down.”
“It just wasn’t meant to be and sometimes you have to tip your hat to the other guys,” Hagy said. “We have nothing to be ashamed of.”
Prestonsburg took an early 1-0 lead as leadoff hitter Grant Anderson started the game with a single. He later scored on an error to give the visiting Blackcats a 1-0.
Neither team scored again until the top of the 6th inning. Anderson led off the inning with a triple. Then Bryson Williams smacked one into right center field for another triple to knock in Anderson.
Anderson scored on a wild pitch to give his team a 3-0 lead. That turned out to be plenty for the Blackcats.
“They have a good offensive team,” Hagy said. “They found some gaps and they were athletic enough to turn those hits into triples.”
Belfry fans were hoping the Pirates had another big comeback in them. They had made a big come-from-behind win in the semi-finals against arch rival Pikeville on Tuesday.
But, it wasn’t meant to be. Prestonsburg brought in relief pitcher xxx in the 7th inning. He got the final three outs and the Cats held on to win.
Prestonsburg rushed the mound in celebration as many Belfry players fought back tears of disappointment.
Belfry’s best chance to put some runs on the board came in the bottom of the 5th inning. With runners on first and second and nobody out, senior Sean Hurley hit a line drive shot to left field which looked as though it may fall in for the hit. But the Prestonsburg left fielder made a nice catch and then threw to second base for a double play.
The next batter drew a walk, but you could tell the twin killing switched the momentum back to the visitors’ dugout on the first base side of the field. Prestonsburg got the third out on the next batter and the Pirate threat was thwarted.
Blackcat pitcher Jarin Hall got the win on the mound, while southpaw Cody Chafin recorded the save, retiring the last three batters in the bottom of the 7th inning.
Belfry junior Zac Fields was the hard luck loser on the hill for the Pirates.
Anderson had a single, triple and scored two runs to lead the Cats, while Bryson Williams had a triple, RBI and scored the other run.
Fields had a double for the Pirates, while Ghormley also had a hit.
The game ended the careers of four Belfry seniors, shortstop Zack Francisco, outfielder Eli Huddle, first baseman/DH Madison Ghormley and infielder Sean Hurley.
Ghormley, Reed Williamson and Fields were named to the all-tourney team for the 15th regional event.
Prestonsburg will take on North Laurel Monday afternoon, at 1:30 p.m. at Whittaker Bank Park in Lexington in the first round of the Kentucky State High School Baseball Tournament.
Score by innings:
P’burg …. 100 002 0 – 3-5-1
Belfry …. 000 000 0 – 0-4-2
WP – Jarrin Hall
LP - Zac Fields
Hitting: Grant Anderson 1b, 3b, 2r; Bryson Williams 3b, 1r RBI