LEXINGTON - After shutting out North Laurel in the opening round of the Forcht Bank/KHSAA State Baseball Tournament, and following a day off, Prestonsburg faced Mercer County in the state quarterfinals Wednesday night. Mercer County prevented Prestonsburg from moving on in the state tournament, defeating the Blackcats 6-2.
With the win, Mercer County improved to 29-9 and advanced to the state semifinals.
Following the loss, Prestonsburg concluded the 2013 season 26-15.
The Blackcats committed three errors in the season-ending loss.
Mercer County pitcher Jon Banks, a senior right-hander, claimed the win. Banks pitched five innings, allowing only one hit while registering four strikeouts.
Logan Horn and Jackson Stoeckinger pitched the last two innings for the Mercer County baseball team.
Prestonsburg hurler Jarin Hall, a sophomore, took the loss.
Mercer County, the champion out of the 12th Region, moved out in front in the opening inning. The Titans scored first in the bottom half of the initial inning and never trailed.
For Mercer County, Layne Peavler doubled and Russell Sims singled him home in the bottom half of the first inning.
Mercer scored another run in the home portion of the third inning and another in the fourth frame to lead 3-0. Then, after holding Prestonsburg scoreless in the top half of the fifth inning, Mercer County pushed across three runs to take a 6-0 lead.
Ultimately, Mercer County scored its six runs on seven hits.
Prestonsburg plated both of its runs in the sixth inning. Hall and Trey Stapleton, Prestonsburg’s winning pitcher in in the opening round of the state tournament, delivered RBI hits off of Horn in the final inning.
Hall singled in Gran Anderson, who reached base on Mercer County’s first error in the tournament.
Prestonsburg was held to four hits in the loss.
The Blackcats, under the direction of head coach Shane Simpkins, finished the 2013 season as one of the state’s top eight teams.
Forcht Bank/KHSAA State Baseball Tournament
at Whitaker Bank Ballpark
Mercer County 6, Prestonsburg 2
Prestonsburg……000 000 0-2 4 3
Mercer County….101 130 x-6 7 1
Jarin Hall, Adam Griffith (5), Cody Chaffin (6) and Dalton Shepherd. Jon Banks, Logan Horn (6), Jackson Stoeckinger (7) and Curry Brown. 2B-Layne Peavler (MC), Griffith (P).
Records-Mercer County 29-9; Prestonsburg 26-15.