High School Baseball

State baseball: Warren East, Apollo roll in first round

Warren East starting pitcher Mark Biggs pitched in the top of the 1st inning as Warren East played Letcher County Central in the opening game of the Kentucky National Insurance/KHSAA State BaseballTournament at Whitaker Bank Ballpark in Lexington, Ky., Monday, June 13, 2011. Charles Bertram | Staff
Warren East starting pitcher Mark Biggs pitched in the top of the 1st inning as Warren East played Letcher County Central in the opening game of the Kentucky National Insurance/KHSAA State BaseballTournament at Whitaker Bank Ballpark in Lexington, Ky., Monday, June 13, 2011. Charles Bertram | Staff

Warren East pitcher Mark Biggs has a big decision to make in the near future.

The Louisville signee was an eighth-round draft pick of the Toronto Blue Jays last week, so he will soon have to choose between college and the pros.

"But not right now. I'm just focused on trying to help my team win a state championship," Biggs said Monday after leading Warren East to a 6-2 victory over Letcher County Central in the opening game of the Kentucky National Insurance/KHSAA State Tournament at Whitaker Bank Ballpark.

Biggs, a 6-foot-3, 190-pound right-hander, gave up four hits and one earned run and struck out nine in six innings. He improved to 5-0 on the season.

"Mark attacked the zone, threw strikes and kept his pitch count down," said Coach Wes Sanford, who lifted Biggs after six so he'll be eligible to throw again Friday if Warren East makes the semifinals.

Biggs, who's batting .442, smacked an RBI double in the first inning but was intentionally walked the next three times he went to the plate.

"It was no big deal," Biggs said. "I have faith in the guys behind me."

Letcher Central Coach Bryce Dean said he apologized to Biggs after the game for the free passes.

The Cougars pulled to within 3-2 in the top of the sixth when Corey Dollarhide scored on a wild pitch. The 14th Region champs still had runners on second and third with one out, but Biggs got a pair of K's to end the rally.

Warren East then got three runs in the bottom of the sixth to seal it. Trey Reece had a lead-off triple, and Nick Henderson and Zach Gross had RBI hits.

"We definitely have to play a lot better if we want to go any farther," Sanford said.

Dean wasn't surprised by the way his Cougars battled Warren Central.

He said he had his end-of-the-season speech prepared in the region tournament, but Letcher Central came from behind for three straight victories to earn its first trip to the state tournament.

"When were down 3-2 here, I got that feeling maybe we'd come back again," he said.

Apollo 10, Mayfield 0: This one belonged to the Eagles early. They scored five runs in the first inning on their way to a six-inning mercy-rule rout.

Mayfield's erratic pitching helped to fuel the onslaught. Austin Clark hit the first three batters of the game, and plunked a fourth later in the first before being relieved.

In all, Mayfield pitchers hit six batters, walked six and gave up 10 hits. Apollo could have ended the game by the fifth, but it left 12 runners on base.

"I thought we were pretty disciplined at the plate and had a lot of good at-bats," Eagles Coach Bob Mantooth said. "But we did leave a lot of runners on base."

Dorian Taylor had a two-run triple for Apollo. Luke Daugherty reached base four times, including a double and single, and had two runs and an RBI. Wesley Purcell had two hits, two runs and one RBI. Matthew Johnson drove in two for the No. 10 Eagles.

Brandon Hamilton got the win for Apollo. He pitched five innings, scattered four hits, struck out two and walked one.

"To win in six innings, we're tickled to death," Mantooth said.

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