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The Marion County Knights finished off a hot week by running into a solid Mercer County High School team that featured a high velocity hurler.
The Knights finish the season 14-10, which guarantees they will finish the season with a winning record.
"This is great for those seniors. They've been part of some decent baseball teams and we like to see them go out like this," Knights Head Coach Chad Spalding said.
Spalding and the Knights hope to continue their hot play heading into the first round of the 20th District tournament, which began for the Knights on Tuesday night against Campbellsville. Marion County earned a number two seed for the tournament. Campbellsville comes into the game with a 12-12 record but is a team that comes with a lot of experience.
"We have to be stellar defensively," Spalding said. "We can't give them anything. They really feed off big innings. They really look for the big inning and to make you pay for mistakes."
Tyler Wright got the nod for the Knights on the mound. Spalding wasn't sure who Campbellsville would start.
"We have to be productive at every bat and try to score every inning," Spalding said.
Marion County and Campbellsville split the season series. Marion County won the second game 6-2 on the road while Campbellsville stole the series opener at Hourigan Field by smashing the Knights 8-2.
"We just hope to play the kind of baseball we've been playing when we play well," Spalding said.
If the Knights win they take on the winner of the Taylor County/Adair County game on Wednesday night at 6:30 p.m. at Hourigan Field.
Mercer County 7, Marion County 0
The Knights ran into a buzz saw named Clay Cinnamon on Thursday night of last week at Hourigan Field.
Cinnamon struck out 13 of 20 batters and allowed two hits in five innings. Cinnamon is a sophomore and will be a force to be reckoned with in this postseason and two years afterwards.
"Some guys have never seen anything like that in their life," Spalding said. "It was all fastballs and sliders. There was no off speed stuff to get us out. We weren't even getting good swings on it and our kids didn't seem to make an adjustment."
Justin Buckman, Eric Miles, Bryan Gootee and Michael Costello were the only batters to get a hit off against Mercer, collecting one apiece.
Miles took the loss from the mound. He pitched five innings, allowing seven runs off nine hits. Jason Buckman closed the game out for the Knights, allowing no hits and no runs in the final two innings.
Marion County 11, Nelson County 0
The Knights made the most of seven hits and eight walks, turning them into 11 runs in only five innings.
Jason Buckman, David Raley, Tyler Wright, Justin Buckman, Bryan Gootee, Michael Costello and Paul Spalding collected a hit each for the Knights. Wright's hit was a two run home run in the fifth inning.
"That was a big win for us because they've had some good wins," Spalding said. "It was good especially to beat them that way at their place on senior night."
Jason Buckman collected the lone RBI and also had a double. Gootee had a double as well.
Wright took the win from the mound. He struck out nine out of 19 batters faced, allowing only one hit. He walked three.
Marion County 9, John Hardin 3
"We had total control of the ball game from the word 'go'. We hit the ball and did the little things to win ball games," Spalding said.
The Knights steadily pounded John Hardin all game and held off the home team until the seventh inning, when they would finally score.
By then it was too little too late for John Hardin.
The Knights combined for 13 hits. Jason Buckman and Bryan Gootee led them with three hits apiece. Paul Spalding added two hits. David Raley, Tyler Wright, Joe Lewis, Justin Buckman and Eric Miles collected a hit each.
Justin Buckman's hit was a triple. Jason Buckman and Wright each had a double.
Justin Buckman took the win from the mound, allowing three runs off 10 hits. He struck out six batters.
"He didn't feel good before the game," Spalding said. "He got a lot of respect from the staff and players because when he got on the bus he said he felt awful. I made two lineups and he wasn't even in one. Before the game I asked if he felt all right and he said he'd give it a shot. I wouldn't say he was lights out but he was close."