West Jessamine has unloaded the lumber — or rather the aluminum — in the Rawlings/KHSAA State Tournament this week.
After scoring 11 runs on 11 hits in a first-round victory over Ballard, the Colts collected 14 hits in a 12-6 rout of No. 6 Elizabethtown in Thursday night’s quarterfinals at Whitaker Bank Ballpark.
When told his team has put up 23 runs on 25 hits in two games, Coach Jody Hamilton said, "We needed every one of 'em because we played two teams that keep competing and keep coming at you."
West Jessamine earned a spot in the state semifinals for the first time in school history. It will play Scott in Friday night's semifinals.
"Anything from here on out is icing on the cake," Hamilton said.
The Colts had a surplus of offensive contributors, led by Jonathan Jackson. The senior catcher, who had three RBI against Ballard, drove in four against E-town.
"We've always been pretty good run producers," Jackson said. "We hit when we need to, and we score runs when we need to. That's why we're called the Cardiac Colts, I guess."
West Jessamine's other hitting stars included Trey Merida, who pounded a double and triple, had an RBI and scored twice; Kendall Peters, who had three RBI and scored twice, and Josh Blancet, who went 3-for-3 and had two runs.
Mark Leonard threw a complete game for the Colts, which was amazing considering the rough start he had.
After West Jessamine took a 4-0 lead in the bottom of the first, E-town tied it in the top of the second.
But Leonard, showing the grit that earned him MVP honors in the 12th Region tournament, kept battling.
He gave up three earned runs, eight hits, struck out five and walked four.
"Mark did a tremendous job," Hamilton said. "I didn't want to send him back out there (for the seventh inning), but he wanted to go."
The Colts went ahead to stay in the third. After Maxx Mahon and Troy Merida reached on errors, Jackson doubled them home.
West Jessamine added six runs in the sixth, with an error on a potential inning-ending double play opening the floodgates.
"This team, we don’t get rattled," Jackson said. "We keep scoring runs and keep attacking no matter what."
As for reaching the semifinals, Jackson noted it’s the farthest any Colts team has ever gone.
"It feels great; it feels amazing," he said.
Scott 7, South Warren 0: Robert Redford played the leading role in the baseball movie The Natural.
Jake Ohmer played that role in leading Scott to a 7-0 victory over South Warren in the quarterfinals of the Rawlings/KHSAA State Tournament at Whitaker Bank Ballpark Thursday night.
Ohmer, a 5-foot-9, 145-pound sophomore right-hander, threw a complete-game two-hitter as the Eagles advanced to the state semifinals for the first time.
He had six strikeouts and two walks while improving his record to 7-1.
"Jake's incredible," Scott Coach Jeff Trame said. "It doesn't matter what sport he plays, he's a natural. He scored a school-record 51 points in basketball this year.
"He's mentally tough and an outstanding talent. I'm not surprised at all the way he pitched tonight."
South Warren Coach Chris Gage was impressed.
"The kid on the mound gets all the credit. He pitched really, really well. He had a really sharp curveball, enough pop on his fastball, and an off-speed knucklish ball.
"If you have three pitches you can throw for strikes, I don't care who's hitting, it's going to be difficult on you."
Ohmer was low-key after his shutout. "I just came out, listened to my coaches and hit my spots.
"When we got the lead, it made it easier on me to keep throwing strikes and let the defense play behind me."
South Warren went with its ace, Cameron Shyrock, to start the game. The senior right-hander, who has signed with Western Kentucky, had two strikeouts in blanking Scott in the top of the first.
But Shyrock didn't take the mound in the second inning. Instead, Gage went with Mike Hicks, apparently hoping to save Shyrock for the semifinals.
The strategy failed.
Hicks walked C.J. Seay to start the second. After Seay stole second, he went to third on Brenton Hughes' infield single.
Gage had seen enough. He put Shyrock back in the game. But Shyrock was greeted by Eli Sowder's squeeze bunt that scored Seay.
Sowder made it 2-0 in the fourth when his bloop single drove in Seay again.
The 10th Region champs from Northern Kentucky got a run in the fifth when they loaded the bases and Noah Back scored on a passed ball.
If that 3-0 lead wasn't enough, Scott raked Shyrock for four runs in the seventh. Andrew Trame, the coach's son, and Ohmer whacked back-to-back RBI triples to highlight the big inning.
Sowder said the Eagles got "hyped up" when South Warren pulled Shyrock after the first inning.
Jeff Trame thought the move motivated his team.
"We knew (Shyrock) threw a no-hitter (in the 4th Region finals) Saturday, and they probably would have liked to save him for the next game," Trame said. "But we made them put him back in.
"It did create some excitement for our kids."
Gage defended his decision.
"We want to try to win the tournament. I won't apologize for that," he said. "And it doesn't matter if you don't score."
Even though Hicks faced only two batters, he gave up the first run and South Warren didn't score, so he got the loss. Shyrock worked 61⁄3 innings, gave up six runs, struck out 10 and walked four. He finished the season with a 10-0 record.
Meanwhile, Scott's season is still alive after its ninth win in a row.
Have the Eagles been a surprise in the state tournament?
"Yes, nobody thought we could do it," Ohmer said. "But we thought we could. We're down here to win it all."
Scott 7, South Warren 0
Scott 010 110 4 — 7 6 0
South Warren 000 000 0 — 0 2 1
Jake Ohmer and Brenton Hughes. Cameron Shyrock, Mike Hicks (2), Shyrock (3), Chandler Harnage (7) and Jacob Lewis. 3B—Andrew Trame (S), Ohmer (S).
Records: Scott 23-11 South Warren 29-10
West Jessamine 12, Elizabethtown 6
Elizabethtown 040 000 2—6 8 4
West Jessamine 402 006 x—12 14 1
Cody Bridges, Austin Freyberger (1), Conner Kindred (6) and Zech Maulden. Mark Leonard and Jonathan Jackson. 2B—Jackson (WJ), Trey Merida (WJ), Troy Merida (WJ). 3B—Merida (WJ).
Records: E-town 33-9; West Jessamine 34-7