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PREP BASEBALL: Cardinals fall in district semis

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By Josh Claywell

 

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The Taylor County Cardinals entered the 20th District Baseball Tournament as one of the top teams in the 5th Region, going a region-best 23-7 during the regular season.

But in the one-and-done nature of the postseason, anything can happen.

Top-seeded Taylor County found that out the hard way in Monday’s semifinal against Adair County as junior left-hander Layndon Carter struck out 11 hitters to lead the No. 4 seed Indians to a 4-0 victory at Campbellsville High School.

“Give him the credit; he’s a good pitcher,” Cardinals coach Jeff Gumm said. “He mixed his pitches real well, he didn’t walk anybody until the last inning and he pitched backwards. A couple of times he threw some 3-2 curves for strikes. We struck out 11 times. We hadn’t been striking out that much, but I give him the credit. He’s a good pitcher.”

Taylor County had faced Carter once this season, chasing him after five innings in a 9-3 victory on April 27. Carter only struck out four that night.

But Monday was a much different night for the Cardinals. Carter limited them to four hits, keeping Taylor County hitters off-balance by mixing up his pitches and locations.

The Cardinals had one solid scoring chance, getting runners on second and third with two outs in the bottom of the third, but Carter got out of the jam by inducing an infield fly and then striking out the next batter.

Carter struck out four of the next hitters he faced, then allowed one baserunner to reach on an error in the sixth. After the Indians tacked on an insurance run in their half of the seventh, Carter struck out the first hitter in the bottom of the inning and then walked junior D.J. Goodin. That’s when the game ended on a controversial call.

Carter induced a grounder to second by senior Collin Watson. Junior Zach Shewmaker, who was courtesy running for Goodin, was thrown out at second. As the Indians attempted to turn a double play, Shewmaker slid past the base and appeared to make contact with the defender. The umpire ruled it was an automatic double play because of the interference, ending the game.

Gumm didn’t blame the loss on that one play. The Cardinals just didn’t take care of business against Carter.

“He’s a big-game pitcher,” Gumm said. “Last year he gave up one run against Marion County, who went to the final four of the state, and this year he gave up zero. So he’s given up one run in 14 innings of district play. That’s a big-game pitcher.”

It was the first time this year Taylor County was held scoreless in a game. The Cardinals entered Monday averaging 8.1 runs per game, and they scored 10 or more 11 times.

“It’s the first time we’ve been shut out all year, and we’ve faced some pretty good pitching all year,” Gumm said. “It’s just one of those things. Baseball’s funny. Anything can happen in a one-game situation.”

The loss brought to an end the prep careers of three seniors: Watson, Marcus Moore and Tanner White.

Gumm said the trio will certainly be missed.

“They’re great guys,” he said. “Marcus is just a joy to coach. I’ve loved coaching Collin and Tanner’s had a great season. I’ve loved coaching all three of those guys. I wish it would have ended better for them. But that’s the thing about sports: you learn a lot of lessons in sports, and this is one of the hardest ones. It’s just part of it.”