The McLean County High School baseball team had a good run, winning four of five games last week and evening its record at 10-10. The Cougars beat Union County 6-2 on the road April 17 and had a walk-off win in eight innings against the Mustangs 5-4 at home the next night. This was the first district win for McLean County since 2016.
McLean County’s only loss of the week was at Muhlenberg County on April 20, where they fell 9-2. A double-header on their own field last Saturday gave the Cougars a solid finish to the week with two more victories, 11-5 and 7-4.
The Braves were up 2-0 after three innings last Monday in Morganfield. The Cougars came alive in the fourth and fifth, plating three runs in each to take the lead and finish off with a 6-2 win.
Jaelin Groves served on the mound all seven innings for McLean County. Groves allowed two runs on six hits, striking out eight and walking two.
Cruz Lee went 2-for-3 at the plate to lead the Cougars in hits. Lee stole three of the team’s five bases and scored a run. HB Whitaker had a double and crossed the plate twice. Hayden Hudson had two RBIs in the game, and Layden Bozarth had one.
McLean County had a double play in the bottom of the second. The batter grounded into a fielder’s choice and the Cougars chose well. Shortstop Layden Bozarth flipped it to Cruz Lee at second base; Lee then made a quick throw to third baseman Brooks Lynam.
McLean County took Tuesday’s game at home in dramatic fashion, with a 5-4 walk-off victory over Muhlenberg County. Each inning passed quickly with no more than four batters seeing the plate for either team and oftentimes only three. The Mustangs managed to score one run in the third inning and it was 1-0 after five.
The Cougars took the lead 2-1 in the sixth, but a three-run homer by Muhlenberg in the seventh gave the Mustangs the advantage again by two. McLean County remained cool headed and sent the game into extra innings with two runs scored.
The Cougar defense was sure-handed in the field and didn’t commit a single error in the game, coming up big in the top of the eighth with a double play that shut the Mustangs down. A grounder was scooped up by shortstop Cruz Lee who got it over to HB Whitaker on first. Whitaker then shot it home to stop a runner on a desperate attempt to score, denied with a catch by Brooks Lynam.
A run scored by McLean would now end the game. Jax Lee got on base and quickly stole second. Big hitter HB Whitaker came to the plate and was intentionally walked. The next two batters were out, and Lee was still on second.
Jaelin Groves swung big on a 1-1 count, sending a high ball to center field. Lee was already rounding third as the ball began its descent and the Cougar fans were on their feet at the fence. Lee crossed home as the ball hit the ground and the dugout emptied onto the field. Players and fans erupted in celebration of the first win over Muhlenberg County since 2010, breaking a 28-game losing streak against the Mustangs.
Layden Bozarth went 2-for-4 at the plate to lead McLean in hits and was the winning pitcher. The righty lasted two innings, allowing two hits and two runs. Hayden Hudson started the game for the Cougars. Hudson went six innings, allowing two runs on three hits.
Head Coach Darren Lynam said, “It was a heck of a game across the board. We hung in there even after the homer that gave them the lead in the top of the seventh.”
McLean County fell 9-2 at Muhlenberg County last Thursday. Hayden Hudson, Cruz Lee and Corbin Martin each managed one hit in the game.
Ayden Rice took the loss on the mound. The righty went three innings, allowing seven runs on five hits and striking out four.
The Cougars defeated Trigg County in both games of a double-header last Saturday, winning 11-5 and 7-4. McLean County racked up 23 hits on the day.
HB Whitaker went 3-for-4 with a double, two stolen bases, an RBI and a run scored in the first game. Jax Lee, Brooks Lynam and Corbin Martin also had doubles. The Cougars stole seven bases with two each from Whitaker and Cruz Lee.
Jaelin Groves led things off on the hill for McLean. The righty allowed six hits and three runs over five innings, striking out four and walking zero.
Connor Mitchuson led the Cougars with four hits in four at-bats, a stolen base and two runs in the second game. Layden Bozarth had two hits, and HB Whitaker smacked a home run. The offense stole five bases, Cruz Lee and Bozarth leading the way with two.
Hayden Hudson took the second win in the circle. The pitcher lasted six innings, allowing seven hits and four runs while striking out three and walking one.
“We swung the bats well today, putting up 17 runs in the two games,” shared Lynam. “Our defense was still a little lax at times, but Jaelin Groves and Hayden Hudson both gave us quality starts while Layden Bozarth and Jax Lee were able to come in and nail down the wins for us.”
The Cougars had a good week, according to Lynam. “We are striving to finish the season over .500, which would be the first time since 2006.”
McLean County is spending this week at home with games against Grayson County tonight, April 27 and Todd County Central on Friday. Both games begin at 5:30 p.m.
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