Hoppers punch ticket to OVL Championship

Al Willman | The Paducah Sun

Hoptown right-hander Chandler Kendall delivers a pitch in the first inning of the Hoppers' game against the Paducah Chiefs at Brooks Stadium in Paducah.

PADUCAH -- With a team depleted by injuries, one might think it'd have been a challenge for the Paducah Chiefs to just cross the finish line.

Not so, said manager Joe Hall, who with a 5-3 loss Tuesday night to the Hoptown Hoppers at Brooks Stadium, completed his fourth season at the helm.

The only available starter for the Chiefs was right-hander Brady Bibbs, who went eight innings and despite giving up four runs on eight hits, while striking out one and walking three, kept the Chiefs (22-21) in the ballgame.

"That game right there reminded me of the 12-inning game on Sunday," Hall said. "It was a total team effort. It was like I told a couple of guys a few games ago. Just give me what you've got. That's what they did. They learned a lot from it."

After allowing a pair of runs in the top of the first, the Chiefs answered the Hoppers (29-13) run for run in the third and fifth innings, before cutting it to 4-3 in the bottom of the eighth. The game ended for the Chiefs with the potential tying run at bat.

Hall's group lost catchers John Michael Russ, James Michael Dodd (McCracken County) and Braden Durham; third baseman Reid Homan; shortstop Grayson Taylor; second baseman Drew Hudson; first baseman Lofton Pigg and a stable of pitchers.

"If you look around, we could almost fill this whole field with what the guys that got injured, and pretty good ones, at that," Hall said. "That's a huge loss. The guys, they gave us everything they had and they went out and competed."

Still, looking at the dugout and on the field, the team's attitude was reminiscent of friends playing on a back field.

"We had a few guys hurting, but we had to try not to show it," Bibbs said. "We just had to try and push through it. I'd do anything for these guys and I just tried to give them all I could. I know they'd do it for me."

For infielder Ja'Lil Akbar, the summer, he said, was his best as a baseball player.

"It's definitely the best one," Akbar said. "I enjoyed myself here in Paducah. I love it here and I'm definitely coming back."

Hoppers 5, Chiefs 3

Hoptown 201 010 001 5 10 0

Paducah 001 010 010 3 8 2

Bibbs, Austin (9th) and Roden; Kendall, Huber (7th), Crooms (9th) and Evans.

2B: PAD- Rucker, Roden. 3B: None. HR: HOP- Jenkins. Top hitters: PAD- Roden 3-4, Rucker 3-4; HOP- Huber 3-5, Jenkins 2-5. RECORDS: HOP: 29-13; PAD: 22-21.

(1) comment

9554

This is the Hopkinsville New Era yet this article is all about the losing team from Paducah. What about the winning team, the Hoppers.

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