Darren Doyle, story:
The Edmonson County Wildcat baseball team won their first district championship team in more than 30 years yesterday, defeating the Trinity Raiders 4-1 in Butler County.
The Wildcats last won the district title back in 1988, during the school's District 15 and Region 4 days. That was the year Edmonson County's very own Superintendent of Schools, Brian Alexander, was a senior on that team.
Edmonson County moved to the District 12 finals yesterday after defeating Grayson County on Monday in an extra-inning game, 4-2.
The Wildcats were in control the entire game yesterday, paced by 7th-grader Hunter Wilson on the mound. Wilson gave up zero runs on three hits, struck out four, and walked three. Junior Gavin Minyard pitched two innings in relief, allowing only one run on no hits, one strikeout, and a walk.
While the Wildcats notched only one unearned run against the Raiders, they were able to use five errors committed by Trinity to their advantage, turning them into trips across the plate. Edmonson had zero errors in the field, and defense is an area where Head Coach Bo West has been determined to find success all season long.
"Our defense was huge yesterday," he said. "Our defense is what's turned us around this year. We committed only one error in two district tournament games, and coming into the stretch, we knew it would be even more important."
West said in addition to solid defense, it was also the senior leaders that helped boost the team's confidence early in the season after beating Butler County on the road 6-2, after getting thrashed from them at home the night before, 15-3.
"Everything was off when this season started because of the COVID shutdown," he said. "We were working through so much after losing an entire season. The guys were pretty quiet at the beginning of the year as everyone started working back to baseball stuff. Our seniors stepped up and led the team as the team as a whole started gaining confidence. Our guys were able to stay loose but also stay focused and those are things that led to the guys playing really good baseball recently."
Isaiah Johnson and Hunter Wilson each went 1-3, Chaz Wilson was 1-1 with an RBI. Gavin Rose was 1-2 with an RBI, and Dylan Lindsey went 1-2 with 2 RBIs.
The team was met at Riverhill with emergency vehicles last night for an official district championship escort into town.
"I thought there was a wreck or something, then they said it was because they were escorting us in, and that was awesome," Coach West said.
West's teams have gotten close a few times, but not often. The last time Edmonson competed in the region tournament was 2013, so the opportunity to still be playing baseball at this time of the year brings on a whole new excitement for the team.
"I'm proud of these kids and proud for our county," our parents, our coaches, the alum, and everyone that's been involved in the baseball program," he said. "You wouldn't think it'd be that hard to win two games, but boy, it is. I'm just happy for everybody."
The District Champion Wildcats are now set to take on District 11 runner-up Hancock County this Saturday, at 10AM at the Region 3 Tournament, hosted at Grayson County.
"Everybody is excited to make it to region. I feel like we'll be ready and that right now, we're playing our best baseball. I'll look at some scouting reports on Hancock, but we know they have good speed and a couple good pitchers. We'll have to have our A-game on defense to beat them. We're going out there with nothing to lose and we're looking forward to it."
Edmonson County is now 17-14 on the season and have won their last 4 games. They have won the last 8 of 9 contests, dating back to May 11th.