Blackcats fall to Pikeville in region semifinals
by Steve LeMaster
PRESTONSBURG The Prestonsburg High School baseball programs remarkable turnaround under the guidance of first-year head coach Shane Simpkins ended one win short of playing in the 15th Region championship game. After capturing regional All A Classic and district titles, Prestonsburg was limited Tuesday night in the 15th Region Tournament semifinals at StoneCrest. Pikeville starter Layne Cecil pitched a shutout as the Panthers defeated the Blackcats 5-0.
Prestonsburg sophomore pitcher Trey Stapleton went the distance and suffered the loss.
Earlier in the season, Stapleton pitched Prestonsburg to a hard-fought 5-4 win over Pikeville in the 15th Region All A Classic championship game.
Pikeville scored one run in both the second and third innings. The Panthers then used a three-run effort in the fourth inning to move ahead 5-0 and put the game out of tournament host Prestonsburgs reach.
The Blackcats weren't without their scoring opportunities. Three straight Prestonsburg batters collected singles in the second inning. Prestonsburgs scoring threat, however, fizzled out. Kyle Chaffin, Corey Carter and Caleb Petry each produced a single for Prestonsburg in the third inning. Stapleton, Adam Griffith and Seth Carter added one single each for the Blackcats.
Pikeville pushed across five runs via hits. Three of the last five batters in the Pikeville order reached base and scored in the fourth inning.
Pikeville, thriving in a record-breaking season, improved to 35-3.
The Panthers advanced to face Lawrence County in the regional championship game Thursday night. Lawrence County slipped past Belfry 1-0 in the other regional semifinal.
Prestonsburg, an 8-4 winner over Pike County Central in the opening round of the regional tournament, ended the season 18-11.
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