by PATRICK CASEY
The Paxton Bobcats baseball team had a good week last week as they won a pair of district contests, shutting out Central at home 10-0 before going on the road on Friday night to earn a 7-1 victory over nemesis Laurel Hill.
Against Central, Paxton broke out on top in the bottom of the third inning as the Bobcats plated three runs with Grant Stewart singling in the first while teammate Mason McCormick drew a walk with the bases loaded to force in another. Third baseman Ryan Gilbert delivered a sacrifice fly to score Marcus Bradley with the final run of the inning.
Paxton added two more runs in the bottom of the fourth inning as a pair of errors by Central along with hits by Jeremy Jerkins and Stewart increased the lead to 5-0.
The Bobcats put an end to the contest after five innings by scoring five runs in their final at-bat as four walks combined with a bases-clearing double by Jerkins set up Mason McCormick’s walk-off single for a 10-0 victory under the Mercy Rule.
Stewart, a left-handed pitcher, kept Central off balance all night as he recorded eight strikeouts while allowing only a single walk to Dylan Peacock as he pitched a no-hitter to earn the win. Geoghagan scored three runs on the night while Jerkins drove in three with his hot bat.
In Laurel Hill, the Bobcats were able to grab a 7-1 win despite rainy conditions that required considerable effort to make the Hoboes field playable. Paxton put three runs on the board in the second inning as Zach Forehand scored on a Kahler Lang double after drawing a one-out walk for a 1-0 lead. Lang and Dustin Geoghagan were able to score on a two-out single by Jerkins later in the inning for a 3-0 lead.
The Bobcats added two more runs in the fourth inning as Lang put down a squeeze bunt that scored both Gilbert and Forehand as the Hoboes barely got Lang at first base after having trouble getting a firm grip on the ball to make the throw.
Paxton scored two more runs in the sixth inning as Gilbert launched the first home run of his career to drive in McCormick, who had reached on an error, for a 7-0 lead. Forehand pitched the first six innings of the contest and recorded 12 strikeouts before giving way to McCormick, who pitched the final inning.
Laurel Hill plated their lone run of the contest in the bottom of the sixth inning as senior Kyle Slingerland singled and eventually scored with the help of a bloop single to left field. Forehand led the Bobcats with a pair of hits while Lang drove in three runs in the victory.
Paxton (9-1) has now won at least 23 straight baseball games against Laurel Hill, dating back to the 2002 season.