It didn’t take long for the Whitaker Bank/KHSAA Baseball State Tournament to find a Cinderella.
Breckinridge County, unranked by the Kentucky High School Baseball Coaches Association through the entirety of the 2019 season, eliminated Beechwood — No. 2 in the final poll and the highest-ranked team still playing in the state — with a 10-6 victory in the quarterfinals Thursday morning.
Inclement weather forced suspension of the game Wednesday after the completion of the seventh inning with the score tied 6-6. A night in the hotel seemed to benefit Breckinridge, which led off the top of the eighth with back-to-back singles. Trenton Brown advanced to third on a passed ball before a single by Cohl Proctor scored Brown, the go-ahead run.
Beechwood (38-2) elected to intentionally walk Breckinridge lead-off hitter Brock Lucas to create a force-out opportunity. Jacob Ball popped up for the second out before the dam broke: Kaeveon Mitchell shot a fly ball into shallow left, but two Beechwood players collided and the ball scurried away, allowing the bases to clear. The Tigers (38-2) got a runner on with two outs but couldn’t advance him in the bottom of the eighth.
“Coach harps on us about not assuming anything,” senior Cole Tabor said. “You never know when a team’s gonna make an error on a routine ball or on a ball hit over their head. There’s always a chance. We’re all human, and we make mistakes.”
Brock Lucas, who pitched the sixth and seventh innings on Wednesday, got the win for Breckinridge County but was ineligible to return due to a pitch-count limitation. He got the win after Isaac Seeger came on to finish the job Thursday.
Breckinridge County (29-5) is used to waiting around to finish a game: Its region championship game started at Shifley Park in Owensboro and ended a day later at Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green. The Fighting Tigers upset South Warren, 7-3, two days later at WKU to qualify for their first state tournament.
They’re happy to continue playing spoiler.
“We’ve kind of been the underdog our last four games,” Breckinridge County coach Jeremy Bennett said. “I know we have an excellent baseball team and I know our kids, but for whatever reason we haven’t gotten the respect that we felt like we deserved all year long even though we played a fairly difficult schedule, we’ve got a good record, we’ve got good players.
“But that’s fine. We like to play with a chip on our shoulder.”