(Courtesy of the Kentucky New Era)
MADISONVILLE, Ky. — Three innings into the game Friday, it seemed like the curtains were already closing for the Hoptown Hoppers.
The Madisonville Miners were able to put up all 11 of its runs in the first five innings against the Hoppers. A five-run third and a three-run fourth helped put the game out of reach, as the Miners toppled the Hoppers 11-3 at Elmer Kelly Park.
Head coach Grayson Crawford felt the wind come out of his team’s sails early in the game.
“From the get go, after the first inning. We just didn’t play really well. It was a lot of things we did. You just put this one behind you and go from there,” Crawford said. “We’re just going to move on. There are too many things tonight we didn’t do right to learn from. You just have to move on and get ready for tomorrow.”
Madisonville (2-14) relied on the bat of Cory Finkler to take an early lead.
In the first inning, Finkler just barely cleared the center field fence for a solo home run.
In the third inning, with the bases loaded, Finkler again cleared the fences. The second time around was much more convincing, easily clearing the left field wall for a grand slam, which at the time giving the Miners a comfortable 6-0 lead.
Finkler has three home runs against the Hoptown (13-3) pitching staff this season.
“It’s just being aggressive at the plate, that’s the key. I got some good pitches at the plate and I was aggressive,” Finkler said. “I got a fastball up in the zone which is what I like to hit so I put a swing on it.”
After tacking on another run in the third, the Miners continued to stay hot in the fourth.
Madisonville used four hits and a Hoppers’ error to put three more runs across.
A final run in the fifth made possible by a Hoppers’ error concluded the scoring for Madisonville, giving them an 11-0 lead at the time.
A combination of Bubba Olivera, Heath Petty, former Hopkinsville high school star Josh Drake, centerfielder Michael Haun and first baseman Jeffrey Kammer worked together to shut the Miners’ bats down after the fourth inning.
Haun and Kammer were the biggest surprises, both working perfect 1-2-3 innings on the mound. The everyday position players even surprised their own head coach.
“Maybe a little surprise. We knew Haun was a pitcher when he came here. Maybe a little surprised with Jeff but he threw strikes,” Crawford said.
The Hoppers were able to plate a single run in each of their final innings at the plate. John Davis, who had been slumping this season, lead the team at the plate with a lead-off double in the seventh and a single in the eighth.
“I was trying to forget the other at bats. I went up there and got down in the count, so I tried to battle up there. I finally got some pitches I could hit,” Davis said. “That’s baseball for you. You just have to stick with your approach and good things will happen.”
The loss for the Hoppers is their second in a row. In Both games, Hoptown fell behind by margins of five and 11 runs early and never recovered. Crawford knows his team needs to return to its old form to end this current slide.
“We just have to get back to the way we were the first 12 games. Winning will take care of itself when you do the right things and we have just been doing some silly things,” Crawford said. “We will try to get back to that tomorrow.”
The Hoppers travel to Fulton today to take on the Railroaders at 7 pm. Following that game, the Hoppers will play their next five games at home at Christian County High School’s Colonel Field.
Madisonville 11, Hoptown 3
Hoptown 000 000 111 3 9 2
Madisonville 115 310 00x 11 11 3
LP – Reese Johnson (2 IP, 3 H, 5 R, 2 BB, 1 SO)
Leading hitters: Hoptown – Davis (2B, 1B), Sean Brophy (2 1B), Scotty Adkins (2B) Parker Cash (1B), Ben Fisher (1B), Ben Rodriguez (1B), Meade Kendrick (1B).
Reach Daniel Newton at 270-887-3260 or [email protected].