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Bassett's Terry silences Patrick County bats
Sophomore hits tying triple and scores game-winning run
Bassett sophomore Kemper Terry delivers a pitch in a Piedmont District tournament semifinal Wednesday at Hooker Field. Terry tossed a complete game three-hitter with six strikeouts and also scored the game-winning run. (Bulletin photo by Mike Wray)
It was all about the little things in Wednesday’s Piedmont District semifinal between second-seeded Bassett and third-seeded Patrick County.
With runs at a premium and both starting pitchers – hard-throwing senior Dylan Nelson for the Cougars and lefty sophomore Kemper Terry for the Bengals -- on top of their games, execution was paramount for both teams. When the Bengals finally found a window of opportunity, they didn’t hesitate to pounce.
A two-out RBI triple by Terry, who then scored on a wild-pitch, helped plate the two decisive runs in the fifth inning of a 3-1 Bengals victory at Hooker Field. Terry also pitched a complete game to earn the win.
“We lost to (Nelson) the week before, so I knew we owed them some revenge,” Terry said. “He’s one of the best pitcher’s in the state and I was just trying to keep our team in the ball game. This was probably one the better games I’ve had in my career.”
The crafty lefty was in total control, more so from the fourth inning on, allowing just three hits and one run in an 89-pitch effort. He started and finished the game with a strikeout, totaling six in the game and only one walk. The free pass happened to lead to the only run Patrick County would score.
In three of the final four innings, Terry needed 10 or fewer pitches and retired the side in order, including the final one. He threw just seven more pitches in four innings than he did in the previous three.
“I finally settled in with my curveball to help my fastball which was working,” Terry said. “It wasn’t until the fourth inning or so that I felt in control. I didn’t warm up well enough over the first few innings but settled in and got the job done.”
The opposite could be said for Nelson, who ran into trouble from the fourth inning on after cruising through the first three. He needed just 26 pitches to record the first nine outs, but then threw 56 over his final three innings. That’s when Bassett was finally able to do some damage.
In the fifth inning, No. 8 hitter Ben Moore ripped a single back through the middle for the Bengals fourth hit of the game. But when Zane Forbes failed to get two bunt attempts down in fair territory, it was Forbes’ stolen base with a slide that did the trick. Forbes would strikeout a pitch later.
By giving Terry a shot to come up with two outs and a runner in scoring position, the opportunity finally arose for someone one to come up big as Terry had one of the few hits prior in the third inning. He took a 1-2 fastball deep to right-center for a stand up triple and then scored a pitch later on a hard slider that got past catcher Christian Edmonds.
“I call that ‘veteranism,’ I don’t know if that’s even a word, but Ben’s been around and is a leader and the fact that he was intelligent enough to make that slide around to the outside was huge,” Bassett head coach Bill Parks said. “It was just one of the little things we did that got away from us for a while. We were blessed to have him in that spot tonight after he’d been out with a thumb injury.
“We were hoping that if we kept it close and not allow them to bust it open with a big inning that we hopefully could continue to put the ball in play and push a run or two across. That’s the style of ball we have to play to win games.”
Terry also acknowledged how big the hit was.
“(Nelson) threw a curveball, then a change up and I wasn’t expecting a fastball,” he said. “But he threw me one and I just kept my hands inside. It felt good off the bat.”
Nelson finished with three strikeouts and three walks, but had a pair of wild pitches score runs. The Bengals added another insurance run in the sixth as a leadoff walked eventually scored. While his performance would typically be good enough win, his team couldn’t provide enough run support.
“Little things tend to make all the difference with two good teams like this and the team that doesn’t make as many mistakes usually will come out ahead,” Patrick County head coach Terry Harris said. “We made more of them (tonight). You can’t expect to win many games also when you only score one run and mentally I didn’t think we took good enough approaches at the plate.”
Bassett will face top-seeded Tunstall today at 7 p.m. for the PD championship back at Hooker Field. The Trojans swept the two regulars season meetings by a combined three runs, including a late 5-4 comeback. Patrick County will face Magna Vista in the consolation game for a chance to be final team to advance to the Region IV tournament.