MORGANFIELD -- The Christian County Colonels waited until the right time of year to see the bats come to life.
In a season plagued with some inconsistency at the plate, County put together one of its best hitting performances to the season, defeating the Crittenden County Rockets, 13-1, in five innings in the opening round of the 2nd Region tournament on Monday afternoon.
Colonels' head coach Trey Wheeler said he was proud of his team's play at the plate Monday and hopes the momentum keeps going as they tread deeper into the postseason.
"We're just going to keep rolling and pass the bat," Wheeler said. "Guys are putting good swings on the ball and having good approaches at the plate. It's one through nine right now and that's something we've been harping on all year. Not everyone has clicked at the same time, and today was a product of when that happens, what we're capable of. It was fun to coach. I'm very proud of those guys, but the work's not done."
County got the ball rolling early offensively. Elijah Underhill got on base thanks to a walk and just one batter later, Wyatt Stevenson brought him home with an RBI double.
Jase Polley came up next and added more cushion to the lead with a two-run home run to put the Colonels up 3-0 in the bottom of the first inning. They would score one more run at the end of the inning when Bryson Brown was walked with the bases loaded.
Three runs would eventually be more than enough for County to walk out victorious, but it wasn't done there.
In the third frame, the Colonels added seven runs on five hits from five different players to extend the lead to 11-0.
The Rockets got one run in the top of the fourth, but the gap was already too wide as they couldn't figure out Underhill on
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Just a freshman, Underhill pitched five innings, allowed one run on five hits and struck out five in the process.
Wheeler said it was huge for Underhill to step up and pitch well.
"That's a freshman that's never been asked to pitch in a big game for us," he said. "He was just really good, that's all I can say. He competed. Even when we got into some jams and kicked a couple balls there in the last inning or so, but he just kept fighting. He did a great job."
County scored two runs in the bottom of the fourth to put the final touches on the win and reach the semifinals of the second region tournament.
Wheeler said Underhill going the distance is huge for his team as it didn't have to use its best arms to win the game.
"That was one thing we talked about," Wheeler said. " We knew it was a bit of a gamble. But at this time of the year at some point, you have to do something. We saw an opportunity. It was one of those things where we didn't even tell them who was throwing until (Sunday) night. We thought about it a lot as a coaching staff and Underhill was the guy that we came up with. I was confident in him and he did a great job being able to finish that game out. Our offense did a great job of allowing us to finish early. We'll see if it pays off."
County will take on Caldwell County in the second region semifinals, a team it has already faced off against twice this season.
The two teams split the season series, and Wheeler said the third game between the two should be a good one.
"They swing it," he said. "They've got a bunch of guys over there that are really good players. They're going to compete, they're going to compete, they're well coached. They're going to have a good arm on the mound and have a good guy in relief if they need him. They play good defense. They're just an all-around good team. I feel like we're similar in some ways, so I think it'll be a good game."
The Tigers and Colonels are set to begin at 5:30 p.m. in Morganfield.
Christian County 13, Crittenden County 1
CCHS 000 00X X 1 5 3
CCHS 407 2XX X 13 11 1
WP: Underhill (5 IP, 5 H, R, 4 BB, 5 K)
LP: Riley (0.2 IP, 3 H, 4 R, 3 BB)
CrCHS: Riley (1-3), Mott (1-3), Adams (1-3, R), Evans (1-2, RBI), Bailey (1-2)
ChCHS: Silvy (1-3, 2 RBI), Underhill (1-3, RBI), Stevenson (2-4, 2 2B, 2 RBI, 2 R), Polley (1-4, HR, 2 RBI, R), Diuguid (1-2, RBI, R), Owens (2-3, 2 R), Fields (2-2, 2B, RBI, R), Brown (1-1, 3 RBI, 2 R).