LIons fight past Tigers: Three-run sixth inning lifts Boyd to win

May 3—CANNONSBURG — Ironton didn't have much time to enjoy the first lead of the game.

Boyd County evened the contest in the third inning then belted out three late runs to have the final word in a 5-2 win on Thursday.

The Lions broke open a pitcher's duel in the sixth inning with consecutive run-scoring hits by Ryan Brown, JK McKnight and Alex Martin to provide much-needed separation.

"We couldn't have been much worse than we were (at the plate)," Boyd County coach Frank Conley said. "We had nowhere to go but up.

"Ironton's pitcher threw good. He kept us off balanced and out on our front foot. He threw strikes to make it hard on us."

Brown led the hitting barrage with a single that gave Boyd County the lead for good in the sixth frame. McKnight followed with a hard-hit ball past a diving left fielder for a two-bagger. Martin drove it deep into the left-center field gap and his triple easily plated McKnight.

The inning was jumpstarted when a pitch hit Michael Potter and Josh Kelley moved him into scoring position with a well-placed sacrifice bunt.

"Josh is a good No. 9 hitter," Conley said. "He's a good guy to have in that spot. He does a lot of good things. He battled in his at-bats. He gets deep in counts. If you throw him a fastball, he can hit a line drive. He does a lot of good things and bunting is one of them."

Grant Slater went the distance to produce the win on the hill for the Lions. He allowed just one hit. Slater struck out the side twice and ended his night with 14 punchouts.

Conley said Slater didn't want to come out of the game in the seventh. He wanted to finish what he started.

"He threw it well," Conley said." He's done it all year long. He came to me after that sixth inning and said he wanted to finish it. It's what you want out of kids. It went out and finished it."

"He does get stronger (as the game goes on)," he added. "It might take him a couple of innings to get loose. After that third inning, he really bared down and threw it well. He doesn't get too up or too down."

Boyd County opened the third frame by loading the bases. Kelley led off with a single. Brown walked and McKnight reached on a bunt attempt after the first baseman took his foot off the bag before securing the throw.

Martin lifted a ball to deep center field for the first sacrifice fly. Peyton Jackson followed suit and drove in the tying run with a fly ball to the outfield that scored Brown.

Sophomore Dawson Philyaw held his ground against the Lions' lineup until the bats got hot in the sixth. He gave up three hits and sent down six batters to strikes.

"It's what we were looking for out of him," Ironton coach Travis Wylie said. "He did a fine job on the mound. We were facing a very good team. Boyd County has a bunch of bats and they swing it well. It was only the second start for the sophomore. We expect big things from him."

Philyaw showed his control on the mound. He's not a hard thrower but remained effective with his pitches.

"We figured that Boyd County has seen live arms all year," Wylie said. "We thought we could get them to roll over on some balls. He hit his spots well and I thought our catcher did a good job calling the game."

After a free pass and an error, Ironton had two on base for Ian Ginger's run-scoring hit in the top of the third frame. Jon Wylie's RBI groundout gave the Fighting Tigers an early 2-0 lead.

McKnight was 2 for 4 for Boyd County. Brown scored twice and Martin tallied two RBIs.

The Boyd County Derby Classic continues today and Saturday at Addington Field. The Lions faced George Washington after their win over Ironton. The game finished after press time.

Ashland meets Pikeville today at 6. East Carter plays 21-2 Covington Catholic on Saturday at 10 a.m. Boyd County hosts Lexington Catholic at 3.

IRONTON 002 000 0 — 2 1 4

BOYD CO. 002 003 X — 5 6 2

Philyaw and Moatz; Slater and Gray. W—Slater. L—Philyaw. 2B—McKnight (BC). 3B—Martin (BC).

(606) 326-2671