Simon Kenton, Walton-Verona ousted in 8th Region semis

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Simon Kenton and Walton-Verona’s baseball teams made the near two-hour drive to the University of Louisville on Monday to compete in the 8th Region baseball tournament semifinals.

The Pioneers took on Shelby County while the Bearcats battled with Woodford County.

Here’s how it went down:

Woodford County 4, Walton-Verona 2

After holding a 2-1 lead through five innings, two runs in the sixth and one in the seventh by the Yellow Jackets were the difference to get them to the 8th Region championship.

Trailing 1-0 in the fourth, Jimmy Shields got the Bearcats on the board with an RBI single, scoring Ed Drohan, who tripled in the previous at-bat. Cayden Smithers recorded the second triple of the inning with two outs, scoring pinch-runner Bradley Perry for a 2-1 lead.

Mason Howard was cruising through five for Walton-Verona, allowing three hits and striking out six, but ran into trouble in the sixth after a single by Justus Wertzler and a walk issued to Collin Kemp. Taylor Penn then tripled, giving Woodford County a 3-2 lead.

The Yellow Jackets added an insurance run in the sixth on a Ryan Cecil RBI single.

The Bearcats had one last chance in the seventh after Lance Coleman led the inning off with a double and Evan Kerns put runners on the corners with a single to left, Julian Dixon getting the bases loaded with two outs after a walk. But a fly out to right ended the game.

The Bearcats close their season at 26-8, tying for the most amount of wins in a season since 2005. They’ll graduate eight seniors, a good bit of them playing varsity since eighth grade. In that span, they tallied a record of 91-37, two All “A” state runner-up finishes, a district championship and making the region semis in consecutive years.

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Shelby County 1, Simon Kenton 0

The two teams combined for eight hits in the pitcher’s duel between Shelby County’s Jack Wills and Hunter Cook and Simon Kenton’s Logan Cones.

The lone run of the game came in the top of the fifth, Rockets leading hitter Kemper Whisman driving in Carter White who singled and then stole second with two outs.

Cones scattered five hits and walked three while striking out two in going the distance for the Pioneers.

Two of the three hits on the day for Simon Kenton came from No. 9 hitter Bailey Rump, in the fifth and seventh innings. Simon Kenton loaded the bases in the first after three straight two-out walks, but a fielder’s choice ended the inning.

Cones led off the bottom of the fourth with a single, but the Pioneers couldn’t do anything else from there.

Their last real threat came in the fifth, Gavin Riley drawing a leadoff walk and getting over to third after Rump recorded a bunt single. With one out and runners on the corners, a failed bunt attempt was popped up and a strikeout followed to strand the runners.

Cook closed the door from there as he pitched the final 2.2 innings, Rump’s single with two outs in the seventh the only hit he allowed while issuing a walk and striking out two.

The Pioneers drew five walks, but couldn’t find the timely hit as their season ends with a 26-11 record, the most wins in a season since 2017 when they won 27 games and made the state championship. They’ll graduate six seniors off this year’s team.

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