After a disappointing loss in a district against the West Jessamine Colts on Wednesday, April 12, the Mercer County Titans fell short again on Friday night, April 14, against region opponent Garrard County. Having lost a close game to the Golden Lions earlier in the season, the Titans looked to get revenge in their second matchup. Led by freshman starting pitcher Jeran Layton, the Titans were in for a hard-fought 12th region battle.
The game started poorly for the Titans as Garrard County retired Mercer County’s offense in the top of the first inning without allowing a run, despite a line-drive single to center field by starting first baseman Will Johnson. In the bottom half of the first, Layton started strong on the mound for the Titans, sitting down the first three hitters he faced in just eight total pitches. The second inning spelled much of the same for the Titan’s offense, as they failed to score any runs and were put away quickly.
The bats started to heat up in the second inning when the Golden Lions took advantage of an early walk, a couple of “Texas league” singles, and a few miscommunications from the Titan defense to pull ahead 5-0. After a pep-talk from Head Coach Cody Christopher, the Titans rallied in the top half of the third inning. Starting with a single by senior center fielder Jonathon “Jono” London, followed by a walk from Johnson, the Titans were able to put pressure on the Garrard County pitcher Reynolds. This pressure led directly to two passed balls and Logdon and Johnson crossed the plate on sequential pitches. These two runs put the Titans on the scoreboard 5-2. Following freshman Jackson Doughty’s double at-bat, freshman Carter Devine singled to add a third run in the inning before Garrard recorded a third out.
In the bottom half of the third, the Golden Lions attempted to squash any momentum the Titans had built by adding two more runs to their tally and extending their lead to 7-3. They would take this lead through two more innings, while neither offense could get anything rolling.
In the bottom of the fifth inning, Garrard County pushed across one more insurance run, for what looked to be the nail in the coffin.
But, the Titans were not going to be put to rest that easily. Mercer started the sixth inning with a bang when Logdon hit a towering fly ball that cleared the fence for a solo home run that cut the deficit to four. Following this injection of energy, the Titans pieced together a few base runners (single by Johnson and a hit-by-pitch to Hart). Doughty then singled on a line drive to left field, which scored both Johnson and Hart, landing the Titans firmly back in the game at 8-6, which would be taken into the top of the seventh inning.
The last inning started with senior catcher Andrew Sheperson, who ripped the first pitch he saw up the middle for a single. The Golden Lions responded with two quick outs, putting the game one out away from completion. However, freshman outfielder Ayden Stephens put together a quality six-pitch at-bat that resulted in a walk. Despite bringing the go-ahead run to the plate with two outs in the top of the last inning, the Mercer County comeback was cut short when Garrard County’s Quinn finally closed the door by striking out sophomore Andrew Tatum after a competitive nine-pitch at bat.
The last out solidified Garrard’s 8-6 win over the Titans, which put them to 2-0 against Mercer for the year. The Titans look to bounce back in a big way when they play Wayne County at home on Friday, April 21, which will be just the second game at Mercer’s new baseball field.