Montgomery County had the Tigers by their tails. Then the Tigers turned around and bit the Indians.
Beechwood snatched a 4-3 victory away from Montgomery County in the semi-state round Saturday at the University of Kentucky’s Kentucky Proud Park, and earned its first berth to the Whitaker Bank/KHSAA State Baseball Tournament since 2006.
Logan Castleman, a Mr. Baseball hopeful, hit a single into right field to drive home the go-ahead run with one out in the top of the eighth inning, putting Beechwood in front for the first time. That came on the heels of a double play initiated in the bottom of the seventh by shortstop John Odom, who scurried over second base for a force-out before releasing a wind-up over to first to send the game into extra innings.
Beechwood intentionally walked Montgomery’s leadoff hitter, Tyler Jacobs, to set up the opportunity for that double play.
“He’s was hitting .500 coming into the game,” Beechwood Coach Kevin Gray said. “ ... We’ve turned so many double plays this year, and it worked out good for us.”
Beechwood improved to 38-1 overall. The Tigers are the only one-loss team in the state and were this year’s All “A” Classic state champions. They’ve scored an average of nine runs per game while giving up about two per game to their opponents.
The 9th Region champs are considered one of the favorites to win it all next week at Whitaker Bank Ballpark.
“They haven’t been satisfied. I don’t think we’re playing with any pressure, ‘cause they know we’re still a small school, down here with the Trinitys and the Tates Creeks and Montgomery Countys” Gray said. “You’re playing against schools that are a lot bigger than you.”
Montgomery struck first in the bottom of the second. A throwing error allowed Jay Eads to advance from first to third after he was hit by a pitch. Seth Adams scored him on a ground-out sacrifice up the middle of the infield to put Montgomery County in front, 1-0. Adams singled again in the fourth to score Luke Fuller and increase Montgomery’s lead to 2-0.
Beechwood’s first run also came via a throwing error. It occurred in the top of the fifth after a Dylan Doverspike single, which moved Castleman from second to third. Marcus Berger singled to left to tie the game that same inning, scoring Devin Johnson from second.
Montgomery County regained the lead in the bottom of the sixth. Eads reached on a ground-rule double and advanced to third on an interference call; he scored on a wild pitch.
Beechwood didn’t want to go out like that. Berger delivered his second RBI in the top of the seventh, scoring Doverspike, to keep Beechwood in it.
“For us, all year, it’s been somebody different,” Gray said. “Today we had quite a few guys that stepped up. It was just a great, great high school baseball game.”
Beechwood vs. Breckinridge County
What: State tournament quarterfinal
When: 5:30 p.m. Wednesday
Where: Whitaker Bank Ballpark in Lexington