Greenup County's baseball team spent hours in their hotel Monday waiting for the rain to stop so the Rawlings/KHSAA State Tournament could get under way.
The Musketeers, who were supposed to play at 1:30 p.m., played charades, cards and watched the College World Series before finally getting to Whitaker Bank Ballpark around 4 o'clock.
They still didn't get on the field until about 6:30, after North Bullitt rallied by Hopkinsville 6-4 in the opener.
But the waiting was worth it as Greenup County beat Lawrence County 5-2 behind the strong relief pitching of Zach Hayden.
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Musketeers Coach Greg Logan said the waiting game "wasn't that bad. We had to battle through it, but the kids are so young I don't know if they know what pressure is.
"We minimized our mistakes, minimized bad things that could happen, and played pretty good baseball."
Greenup County got all the runs it needed in the first when it scored four times.
Kyle Gammon led off with a single and Brody Shoupe walked. Gage Hughes' double drove in Gammon, and Shoupe came home on an error. Hughes also scored on an error, and Christian Wireman had an RBI single.
Lawrence County got two runs off Greenup County's Jaxon Keeton in the second, with Noah Lambert and Morgan Miller collecting RBI.
But that was all the Bulldogs would get. Hayden came on in relief in the third and shut down Lawrence County the rest of the night. The junior righthander allowed two hits, struck out eight and walked one in five innings.
"Zach is a guy who can come in and do that," Logan said. "He's such a competitor. He did a great job for us."
Greenup County played the Bulldogs twice in the regular season, so Hayden was familiar with them.
"We knew what their hitters were capable of, and that helepd a lot," he said.
Hayden said he felt stronger as the game progressed. "I like that adrenalin. It gets me pumped up."
Hughes, a freshman shortstop, had three hits, two runs and an RBI. Shoupe had a pair of doubles for the Musketeers, who have won 23 games in a row against Kentucky competition.
North Bullitt 6, Hopkinsville 4: A five-hour rain delay before the start of the game may have contributed to North Bullitt's slow start — it made three errors in the top of the first to help Hopkinsville get three runs — but the No. 18 Eagles rallied to reach the quarterfinals for the second year in a row.
"It's been one heck of a day. It was out of the norm. It was really strange," North Bullitt Coach Brian Wise said.
The Eagles showed up at the ball park at 8:30 a.m. for batting practice. The rain forced them back to their hotel for a while. They came back a second time but the rain never let up, so they left and went to lunch.
They returned to the ball park around 1 p.m., and waited another three hours before the game finally started.
Wise said he was concerned how the delay might affect his starting pitcher, Ryan Henson.
Henson didn't react well early in the game.
"His body language wasn't good the first four innings," Wise said. "He was frustrated with his defense, and a couple ball-strike calls."
Wise visited the mound and gave Henson an ultimatum. Get his act together or get pulled.
Henson got his act together, stymied Hopkinsville the rest of the way and earned the complete-game win. He gave up eight hits, stuck out five and walked three.
"It was just a slow start for me with the weather and all the delays," Henson said. "I was kind of sluggish at the beginning of the game. Once I settled in and our defense started rolling, I loved being out there."
North Bullitt tied it with three runs in the bottom of the first, with a Hopkinsville error helping the rally.
The Tigers regained the lead at 4-3 in the fourth, but North Bullitt tied it in the bottom of the inning when Chase McKenzie doubled and eventually scored on Daulton Walls' sacrifice fly.
The Eagles scored twice in the fifth, with Henson contributing an RBI single.
North Bullitt trailed early against Elizabethtown and Conner in last year's state tournament, but rallied to win both games.
"That experience last year really did help us," Henson said.
Hopkinsville was led by 6-foot-6 junior Easton McGee. He had three hits, scored a run, and came on in relief in the fifth and struck out the last 5 batters he faced.
North Bullitt 6, Hopkinsville 4
Hopkinsville 301 000 0—4 8 3
North Bullitt 300 120 x—6 7 3
Luke Brown, Easton McGee (H) and J.P. Dougherty. Ryan Henson and Chance Egnor. 2B--Chase McKenzie (NB).
Records: Hopkinsville 22-14; North Bullitt 31-11
GREENUP CO. 5, LAWRENCE Co. 2
Lawrence Co. 020 000 0—2 6 3
Greenup Co. 400 010 x—5 7 2
Austin Bailey, Chase Coverdale (2), Josh Cantrell (5) and Morgan Miller. Jaxon Keeton, Zach Hadyen (3) and Brody Shoupe. 2B--Chase Coverdale (LC), Gage Hughes, 2 (GC), Shoupe, 2 (GC).
Records: Lawrence County 23-16; Greenup County 32-10