Congratulations to Austin Trent for signing his letter of intent for UPIKE for Track & Field. Austin will also be on the UPIKE football team. Austin is pictured with his parents on the left and fellow PCHS Track and Field teammates Emily Branham and Sierra McKinney as well as with UPIKE Track and Field Coach Wayne Stacy.
By JAMES COOK
Times Sports Writer
If you had said the Lady Pirates would be at the 14th Region Tournament after the first half of the season, some would have thought it was wishful thinking. After all, the team was 2-16 at that point. But then Powell began to pull things together.
They upset Lee County in the first round of the district tournament. They played Estill tough on the championship game. That earned them a trip to the regional tourney in Breathitt County.
Despite a valiant comeback attempt, Powell could not overcome an early 7-0 deficit. The Lady Pirates fell in the first round to Letcher Central, 15-8 on Memorial Day.
The Cougars opened the contest pushing three runs across in the first inning and adding four more in the second to lead 7-0. Powell finally was able to get on the scoreboard in the top of the third, making it a 7-2 game.
Letcher took advantage of some timely hits and unfortunate Lady Pirate errors to explode for five runs n the bottom of the third. Suddenly Powell was trailing 12-2 and looking at being mercy ruled.
But the new and improved Lady Pirates were not about to go down quietly. In the top of the fourth Powell scored four much needed runs to make it a 12-6 lead, but Letcher added three more to widen the gap to 15-6.
The Lady Pirates still had some fight left in them. The team added a run in their half of the sixth and the seventh. But it was just a little too late. Powell fell 15-8.
Powell was led by McKayla Rucker who ended her six year high school career with a 3-for-4 performance adding to her record of most hits in the program’s history, driving in two more runs to add to her second place RBI totals (172) and picking up a double.
Senior Emily Branham also went 3-for-4, picking up a double and an RBI. Branham also had a stolen base to end up with a season high 25 thefts on 28 attempts. Kelly Bloom went 2-for-4 with an RBI, while Ashley King was also 2-for-4 with a double. Eighth grader Cloe Grater, in her first regional tournament game, went 2-for-4 as well.
Powell picked up 12 hits in the game, which was a vast improvement from the nearly anemic performances the team had at the plate for half of the season. The Lady Pirates did however commit six costly errors in the game, a problem the plagued the squad all season.
Powell ended their 2019 campaign with an overall record of 9-28.
Letcher Central fell to Wolfe County in the semi-finals, as Estill fell to Perry Central. Wolfe then grabbed their first 14th Region Championship, after a three day rain delay. Wolfe dominated Perry, 12-1. The Lady Wolves then fell to Clay County 3-0 in the sectional.
Times photo by James Cook
2019 District Champion Powell County Pirates
First championship since 2015
By JAMES COOK
Times Sports Writer
When tournament time begins every team in the state has the same record. It literally comes down to who is playing their best when the tournaments begin.
The Powell County Pirates are playing pretty well.
Powell won their opening round game in the 56th District Tournament easily, then topped their rival to grab the title. It was the Pirates first championship crown in four years.
The first game pitted the Pirates against Owsley County. The Pirates secured the number one seed for the 56th District Tournament and faced the number four seed Owls.
Trent Rogers got the start on the hill and went two innings, allowing one run on two hits and striking out one. Wyatt Clark, named as top player in the 14th Region, and Jace Ware both came in relief out of the bull pen to close out the game.
This one was never in question. The Pirates scored five runs in the bottom of the first inning. The Pirates got a shipload of hits picking up 12 in the game. They also ended up taking 12 unearned bases.
The Pirates sailed to an easy victory, 16-6.
That set up the district title game. The match up of the two best teams in the district looked to be a great one. The teams aces were set to meet. Rocky Hix took the mound for the Engineers and Nate Skidmore led the Pirates from the hill.
Skidmore came out strong knocking out the first two hitters for the Engineers in the top of the first. Micah Adams had a base hit but Skidmore then retired the four hole hitter, Rocky Hix.
The Pirates then opened the sails in the bottom of the first on offense. They scored four runs on base hits by Skidmore and Jon Brooks. They added a pair of two out doubles by Braxton Anderson and Kyle Hale.
Ultimately the Pirate’s offense and pitching by 14th Region Player of the Year, Nate Skidmore, were too much for the Engineers. Skidmore shut out the Engineers, picking up the victory on the hill for Pirates. He went seven innings, allowing zero runs on four hits, striking out four.
Powell grabbed the 5-0 victory. The win gave Powell the 56th District Championship for the first time in since 2015. It also gave second year Coach Frank Spencer his first district title.
Both teams advanced to the 14th Region Tournament. The tournament, held at Letcher Central began last Saturday.
Information for these stories was provided by Chad Poe.
The PCHS Track and Field Team competed at their last meet of the season, at the Class AA Region 7 Meet at Magoffin High School on Saturday, May 18 in Salyersville.
Ten athletes won medals with three moving on to the State AA Track Meet at the University of Kentucky Track Outdoor Track Complex on Friday, May 31.
The Girl’s Final Results: Emily Branham finished 2nd in the Girls Discus throwing the discus 91ft 2 in and will be moving on to State Competition.
Dakara Cooper ended in 5th place, throwing the discus 80ft 8 in. Dakara also finished 5th in the Girls shotput throwing it 26ft 4.5in.
The Boy’s Final Results: In the Long Jump, Aaron Conn finished 1st, jumping 18ft 6in and will be moving on to State Competition. In the High Jump, Aaron Conn finished 1st, successfully clearing the bar at 5ft 6in and will be moving on to State Competition.
Lance Stevenson finished 5th, successfully clearing the bar at 5ft 2 in.
In the Boys, 100-meter dash, Aaron Conn finished 5th, running it in 11.96 seconds.
In the 1600 meter run, Austin Goodwin finished the race in 5th, in 5 minutes and 32.6 seconds. Austin Goodwin also finished 6th in the Boys 800-meter run, completed it in 2 minutes and 28.9 seconds.
In the Boys Discus, Lance Stevenson finished 2nd throwing the discus 109ft 4inches and will be participating in State Competition, and Austin Trent finished 3rd, throwing the discus 105 ft 3in. Hollie Sands and James Clapp coach the PCHS Track & Field Team.
The Track Team would also like to thank the parents that came to support the team, and Shirley Brandenburg, the bus driver.
PCHS Senior McKayla Rucker eyes the Pitcher moments before hitting what turned out to be the game winning home-run against Breathitt County on April 26.
The Lady Pirates had a much better week as some things are starting to come together for the young team. Powell picked up three wins, two in district play and an opening round win in the Powell County Invitational Tournament. They did lose three games, but played some top teams close as they begin the push towards the only season that really matters, the postseason.
Powell traveled to Booneville last Monday to play the Owsley County Lady Owls. The Lady Pirates added four eighth graders to help fill gaps created by school trips and injuries as they needed to pick up some wins. It helped the team right away.
The team got off to a slow start, scoring a quick run in the first inning. But they then exploded for four more runs in the second, four in the third and six in the fourth.
Meanwhile, sophomore pitcher Kelly Bloom gave up a base hit with two outs in the first inning and then another one with two down in the fifth. In between she hammered down. Bloom held the Lady Owls hitless in between those two singles. She struck out eight and walked one Owsley batter. Powell won easily, 15-0.
One of the eighth graders, Chloe Grater, started in centerfield and led the team at the plate. Grater went 3-for-4, scored two runs and picked up three RBI’s. Freshman Kairi Wickline was 2-for-3 with four RBI’s, while freshman Madisyn Combs was 2-for-3. Brook Smith went 2-for-4 at the plate.
The same two teams met again last Wednesday in Stanton and the result was pretty much the same. Powell scored three runs in the first inning to get things going. The Lady Pirates then tacked on five more runs in the third and sealed the mercy rule victory with one more score in the fourth. Powell won easily, 10-0.
Senior Emily Branham went 3-for-4 at the plate to lead the Powell team. The Lady Pirates scored those runs on nine hits and four Owsley errors. The wins over the Lady Owls last week evened Powell’s district record at 2-2.
Last Friday Powell opened the PCIT after a late rain storm delayed the start of the tournament. The Lady Pirates opened the tourney taking on Breathitt County. The Lady Bobcats scored first in their first at bat, but Powell regrouped in the second. Powell went on a roll with two outs in the inning, scoring four runs on four straight hits. Powell enjoyed a 4-1 lead.
But the Lady Cats began chipping away at the lead. Breathitt scored a run in the third inning and added two more in the fourth to tie the game. With the tournament time limit looming and possibly forcing an inning of international rule play, the game was becoming a classic.
With that aforementioned time limit closing in, Powell had a chance to win the game in their final at bat. The first two batters went down quickly, but each hit the ball hard. Senior McKayla Rucker stepped to the plate with two outs. Rucker worked the count to 3-2 before driving the next pitch over the left field fence for her third home run of the season, ninth in her career. Powell captured a much needed and deserved 5-4 region win.
Kelly Bloom went 3-for-3 in the win, as did Rucker in the game. The defense played an important role in the win as Powell committed no errors and made some key plays to end Breathitt threats.
Powell rounded out the tournament on a down swing, but showed improvement against some talented teams. Powell closed the Friday night games taking on Franklin County (12-8). It was all Lady Flyers in this game as they won easily 16-0.
On Saturday, the Lady Pirates took on Johnson Central, another top rated team in the 15th Region. The two teams met in the first week of the season and the Lady Eagles won that game easily 11-0. But this game was a lot different.
Johnson Central jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the first inning and added four more runs in the second to make it 8-0. Powell got on the scoreboard in the third. With two outs Chloe Grater and Emily Branham singled and moved to second and third on a throw from the outfield. With runners on second and third, McKayla Rucker singled driving in both Branham and Grater. The score stood at 8-2.
Johnson Central added another run on a monster home run by Ali Jude to left field to make it 9-2. But Powell made another run. Once again with two outs in the fifth, Grater doubled to center. Branham hit a bloop single to left and Rucker shot a single to left that drove in Grater and Branham. An error on the left fielder allowed Rucker to move to second. Kelly Bloom then singled to right field to score Rucker. The score stood at 9-5 and that is how it ended as time ran out.
Branham led the Lady Pirates at the plate going 3-for-3 and scoring two runs. Grater was 2-for-3 with a double and Rucker went 2-for-3 and picked up four RBI’s.
In Powell’s final game of the tournament they took on Boone County. The Lady Pirates batted first and pushed a run across in the top of the first inning. But the Lady Rebels, a well disciplined team, settled in and scored three runs in the third, as Powell added two in the same inning to make it a 7-3 game. But despite a good defensive showing and some improvement at the plate by the Lady Pirates, Boone added four more runs and won the game , 11-3.
Boone County ended up winning the tournament with a perfect 4-0 record.
Powell improved to 6-19 on the season and have a light schedule this week. The Lady Pirates were set to travel to Beattyville for an important district seeding game against Lee County. The Lady Bobcats took a 5-4 win in Stanton on April 15. If Powell can win by two runs they could capture the two seed in the district, a loss would put them at the third seed.
The Lady Pirates will travel to Richmond Model today (Thursday, May 2) to try to avenge a 13-10 loss in Stanton on Mar. 30. Powell will take the weekend off for the Prom before hosting Estill County on Monday and Jackson City on Tuesday. The Lady Pirates will host Bath County on Wednesday.
The Lady Pirates have known for most of the season that regular schedule this year would be used to help rebuild and prepare for the post-season. But the team still wants to show improvement every day, one game at a time. Despite a few set backs last week, the team is still progressing toward the goal of reaching the regional tournament.
Powell may have gone 1-3 last week, but there were some bright spots. The Lady Pirates dropped a close game to district rival Lee County and picked up a much needed win over Menifee County to end the week.
The action began last Monday as Powell hosted Lee County. Lee scored in the top of the first, but the Lady Pirates rallied to tie the game in the second. Kelly Bloom doubled to left to begin the inning. She advanced to third on a ground out by Madyson Combs an scored on a single to right by Brooklyn Smith.
The game stayed that way until the fifth win the Lady Kats took advantage of some miscues by the home team. With two outs and a runner on first, an error at first base gave Lee another run. Two more quick hits and another error gave Lee a four run burst. Lee held a 5-1 lead.
Powell fought back, scoring a run in the fifth and sixth innings. The Lady Pirates pushed another in across in their final at bat, but could not complete the full come back. Lee won the close game, 5-4.
Powell was held to eight hits on the evening. Combs led the way as the only Lady Pirate with a multi-hit game. Combs went 2-for-3 for the evening.
On Tuesday Powell traveled to Breathitt County to take on the Jackson City Lady Tigers. The Lady Tigers have been one of the most improved teams in the region in the past few years. That was quite evident i this contest.
Powell jumped out to an early lead. Makayla Rucker led off with a single to left and Ashley King followed with a single to right. The ball was misplayed by the right fielder, allowing Rucker to score and King make it to third base. One out later Kairi Wickline singled to left centerfield, scoring King. Powell held a 2-0 lead after a half inning.
The Lady Tigers came to bat and the lead off batter reached thanks to an error on a pop fly. That opened the gets, as the home team sent 10 batter to the plate, picking up six runs on four hits.
While Powell’s bats fell silent, picking up only two hits after the first inning. Meanwhile, the Lady Tigers scored two more runs in the third and five more in another 10 batter inning. Jackson City took home a five inning, 13-2 win.
Let Thursday Powell hosted Montgomery County. Powell struck first in the bottom of the opening inning. Emily Branham opened the game with a single to left field, stole second base and went to third on a round out by Ashley King. A single by Makayla Rucker down the left field line scored Branham and Powell held a 1-0 lead.
It would be the Lady Pirates only run for the night.
The Lady Indians tacked on four runs in the second inning, another run in the third and six more in the fourth. Powell was held to four hits, with Branham going 2-for-3.
The week ended last Friday with Menifee County coming to Stanton. It was the Lady Pirates
turn to have a big game. Powell scored seven run on six hits and took advantage of three Lady Wildcat errors in the first inning.
The Lady Pirates added to their lead on a three run dinger by Kairi Wickline in the second inning. Powell then tacked on four more runs in the third and ended the mercy rule game with one more run in the fourth. Powell pitcher Kelly Bloom threw a one hitter as the team picked up much needed win, 15-0.
The Lady Pirates record now stands at 3-16 as they entered play this week. They are 0-2 in district play, but hope to improve on that. Powell was slated to play Owsley County in Booneville this past Monday and then host the Lady Owls on Wednesday in a make up game.
The Lady Pirates will then host the Powell County Invitational Tournament this weekend. Boone County, Christian Academy-Louisville, Johnson Central, Breathitt County and Franklin County will join the Lady Pirates this weekend. Games begin ay 5:30 p.m. on Friday when Powell and Breathitt open the tournament. On Saturday the action begins at 10 a.m. and runs all day.
Powell will then travel to Lee county on Monday for another district showdown.
Early season games have a way of teaching teams and coaches what they need to work on. The Pirates are still in the early season, and despite losing a few tough games and a couple of blowouts, they are still gaining the much needed experience they will need later in the season.
This past week, they topped a few familiar foes.
The Pirates hosted Breathitt County last Monday night as the Bobcats came to town. It was a chilly evening and the Pirate’s bats went cold as well after the first inning. Despite the cool start, Powell did scratch out a win over the visitors, 7-4.
Breathitt started out scoring early in the top of the first inning. Nate Skidmore gave up a walk to the Bobcat’s leadoff hitter, Andrew Combs. Combs then moved around the bases on a pass ball, a base hit by Lane Weddle, and scored on a pass ball. Breathitt held a short-lived 1-0 lead.
Powell took over from there.
The Pirates scored six runs in their half of the first. Nearly every Pirate batter in the lineup picked up a hit in the offensive outburst. Wyatt Clark picked up two hits. Skidmore, Trent Rogers, Braxton Anderson, Kyle Hale, and Bryce Merion each got a hit in the bottom of the first as well. Powell took a quick 6-1 advantage.
Then the Pirates bats went cold. But Breathitt wasn’t able to catch fire at the plate either. Powell outlasted the Bobcats, 7-4.
Skidmore recorded the win going four innings. He struck out eight, walked four and allowed four runs with three of those being earned. Jon Brooks threw three innings in relief to get the save, shutting out Breathitt while on the hill for the last nine outs.
The Pirates ship then sailed to Owsley County last Tuesday night for a high scoring affair. The game was never in question as Powell opened hot and was never challenged. The game ended mercifully after three innings. The Pirates shutout the Owls 20-0, in a big district win.
Trent Rogers got the start on the mound for the Pirates. Rogers has pitched well this season with a loss against Perry earlier in the season, but went five innings while only allowing Perry to score four runs. Against Owsley Rogers went three innings, striking out two and shutting out the Owls.
On the offensive front most of the starters had hits and five had multiple hits. Clark lead the team with four hits, two of those were doubles. Brooks, Merion, Poe and Jace Ware all had multiple hits in the game.
The Pirates then traveled to Morehead last Saturday to play Lewis and Rowan counties in the Anchor Classic. Powell took on Lewis County first, this time the game was much closer than the matchup a week ago. Powell fell behind 4-0 in the first inning before settling down. The Lions added another run in the fourth to make it 5-0. But then Powell struck back with three runs in their half of the inning.
Lewis answered quickly, tacking on two more runs in the fifth to make it 7-3. The Lions added three more runs for insurance in the seventh to take it to 10-3. But Powell was not quite done. The Pirates once again made a mad dash at their opponent. After scoring four runs in the final at bat, the Pirates ran out of gas. Lewis won the game, 10-7 Powell’s defensive woes, committing six errors in the game was a key factor in the loss. But on the other side, Powell did pick up 13 hits to Lewis’ 14 hits.
In the second game of the day the Pirates took on the host Rowan County Vikings. The Vikings picked up four runs in the bottom of the first and added two more in the second to grab a 6-0 lead. Powell never really got on track, being held to just three hits and committing three errors in the game. Rowan won the battle, 11-0 in six innings.
The Pirates ended last week with an overall record of 5-6 and a 1-0 record in district play. Powell was scheduled to host Lee County in another district game this past Monday. The Pirates were then set to sail to Clark County this past Tuesday and on to Letcher Central tonight (Thursday).
The road trip continues on Friday with a ride to Fleming County. On Saturday the team travels to Montgomery County to play McCreary Central and Prestonsburg. The Pirates return home to take on Estill County on April 17 and Knott Central on April 19.
(Some information for this story provided by Chad Poe)
Pirates celebrate at home plate after coming from behind to beat West Carter 7-6 in their last at-bat.
The Pirates traveled to Prestonsburg last Thursday to face the Blackcats. Coming off a 15-0 loss to Hazard on Tuesday, the Pirates were looking to get back into the win column. They were not disappointed. Some changes in the batting order sparked an explosive offense.
The Pirates scored two runs in the first on a single by Nate Skidmore, a standup triple by Jon Brooks and a bloop single by Daniel Poe on an 0-2 count. Skidmore, a senior, got the start on the hill and retired the first three batters in order at the bottom of the first. With one strikeout and two outs coming from the defense of the senior second baseman, Braxton Anderson.
The Pirates offense was not finished. They added four runs in the second inning and six runs in the third. In fact, four out of the five innings played were multi-run innings for the Pirates. Five Pirates had a multi-hit game with Skidmore and Poe both racking up three hits and each smacking a double. Wyatt Clark lead the team with five RBI’s.
Skidmore finished the game with seven strikeouts, three walks, and no earned runs after five innings pitched. Powell won easily, 18-2.
The Pirates were at home last Friday against the West Carter Comets after coming off the huge win Thursday in Prestonsburg The Pirates stole the lead late in the game to secure the win in the bottom of the seventh.
Trent Rogers started on the mound and went five innings for the Pirates. He allowed three runs on five hits, struck out three and walked one. Jon Brooks came in relief and got the win. Brooks allowed three runs on three hits and struck out four over two innings of work.
The Pirates were in command going into the sixth with a 4-3 lead. But the Comets scored three runs in the top of the inning to go ahead 6-4 on aggressive base running and timely singles by Trevor Hinton and Dominick Callahan. Going into the bottom of the seventh the Pirates were down 6-5 after they scratched out a run in the bottom of the sixth.
Jace Ware drew a walk to give the Pirates a base runner and a chance to tie the game. Rogers executed a bunt and reached first, moving Ware to second. Tyler Charles was brought in as a pinch runner Trent Rogers. Braxton Anderson then laid down a perfectly executed bunt single, but the Comets defender overthrew first base. he miscue allowed Ware and Charles score. With aggressive base running and some fundamental baseball the Pirates came from behind to win, 7-6.
On Saturday Powell fell in a tough loss to Lewis County. The Lions grabbed a 15-5 win over Powell. The week’s action left Powell with an overall 3-4 record in the early season.
Powell was scheduled to host Breathitt County this last Monday and travel to Owsley County this past Tuesday for a district showdown. The Pirates will set sail on Saturday for the Anchor Classic at Rowan County. Powell will play Lewis County at 1:30 p.m and he hit Rowan Vikings at 4 p.m.
The Pirates will return to Charlie Childers Field at the Stanton City Park on Monday. Powell will take on the Lee County Bobcats in another district matchup.
(Information and photo for this story was provided by Chad Poe)
The Pirates took to the diamond last week to open the high school baseball season. Second year coach Frank Spencer and his team started a little slow, but put up a good fight on all three games last week. Powell dropped one to Bath County and Perry Central, but did knock off Floyd Central.
The Pirates opened the year on the road in Owingsville last Thursday agains the Bath County Wildcats. Neither team hit the scoreboard until the top of the third when Powell tacked on a run. Bath answered by pushing across four runs of their own in their half of the third.
The Pirates added another run in the fourth to cut the lead in half. But the home team pushed across another run in the fifth inning. The Pirates tried to count a comeback, scoring a run in the sixth and another in the seventh, but they came up short, 5-4.
Bryce Merion was 2-for-3 at the plate to lead the Pirates. Daniel Poe went 2-for-4. Jace Ware, Kyle Hale, Wyatt Clark and Jon Brooks each picked up base hits in the game. Clark and Brooks each drove in a run, as did Trent Rogers and Braxton Anderson.
Brooks unfortunately picked up the loss on the mound. He went six innings giving up eight hits, five runs, all earned, a walk and four strikeouts.
Last Saturday Powell hosted Floyd Central and Perry Central for a triangle. In the first game Powell fell behind 3-2 before breaking loose for three runs in the bottom of the fourth to take a 5-3 led and never look back. The Pirates tacked on two more runs in the sixth, while holding their guests to just one more score enroute to the 7-4 win.
Nathan Skidmore, Hale, Anderson, Rogers, Merion, Brooks and Clark each had a hit in the game. Clark also had two RBI’s to lead the way. Skidmore picked up the win from the hill, giving up five hits, four runs, two were earned, three walks and picking up six strikeouts in five innings of work. Austin Begley picked up the save.
In the nightcap Powell took on the Commodores of Perry Central. The visitors took command early, scoring a run in the first inning, two in the fifth and another in the sixth to make it 4-0. The Pirates came to life, offensively, in their half of the sixth, busting loose for three runs to make it 4-3. But the Commodores exploded for six runs in the seventh to capture the win, 10-3.
Ware went 2-for-4 at the plate, with a double, to lead the Pirates. Skidmore, Poe, Brooks and Clark each had a hit for the Pirates.
The Pirates used four pitchers in the game. Rogers started the game and went five innings giving up three runs, all of them earned, issued a base on balls and had a strikeout. Poe and Begley came to the hill in the contest, with Begley giving up six runs, five earned, on five hits and walking three Commodores. Tyler Brewer also threw in the contest giving up an earned run, one walk and picking one strikeout. Rogers took the loss in the game.
Powell was set to travel to Hazard this past Tuesday to play the 2-0 Bulldogs in a regional contest. The Pirates travel to Prestonsburg tonight (Thursday) before returning home on Friday to host West Carter. Powell will then host Breathitt County on Monday before sailing to Owsley County for a district clash on Tuesday. Game times for varsity action is 6 p.m.
Powell will travel to Rowan County next Saturday, April 6, to play in the host team and Lewis County in the Anchor Classic.
Photo by: Cecil Pergram
Braxton Bishop, Jake Kincaid, Brantley Hughes, Connor Rice, Jake Halcomb, Jake Scott, River Fugate Nolan McIntosh, Jacob and Chris Rogers. Not pictured is Head Coach Mike Halcomb. Celtics were undefeated regular season and tournament Champions