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Staff photos by Nathan L. McBroom
Kipp Moore knocked one out of the park on the first pitch of the game on Wednesday night. The homerun was Moore's first.
By Nathan L. McBroom/Sentinel-News Staff Writer
Like all pitchers, Kipp Moore has a love/hate relationship with homeruns: he loves hitting them but hates giving them up.
And during the first round of the 12-year-old regional tournament on Wednesday night, Moore experienced the blessing and then the curse of the long ball as Shelby County lost to Jessamine County 9 to 7.
Before the game, Moore said he was the person on his team least likely to hit one out of the park. But on the first pitch of the game, Moore cranked out his first homerun - the first of his entire life.
As his solo shot inched over the fence, Moore, his teammates and the hometown crowd ignited.
The homer charged up Moore's teammates to score two more runs in the first inning and looked to be the prelude of a Shelby County win.
But a tenacious Jessamine County team had other plans.
While Shelby County out hit their opponent's 11 hits to 7, they had a hard time getting a hit with runners on base. While Paul Miller had three hits and Moore, Chris Shuck, and Michael Smither all had two hits, some of the team's usual bats were silent.
Out of the 18 outs Jessamine County made, 12 were strikeouts and during Shelby County's last at bat, Jessamine County's pitcher struck out all three batters.
Before the game, Coach J.R. Wiley told his players that pitching was something to watch out for on the Jessamine County team.
"The first thing that I do when I get to the ball park is figure out who is going to be pitching to me. Now, (look over there at their pitcher.) Watch him. Adjust to him. Learn to read him. That's how we're going to win," he said.
While Shelby County had more than a four-point lead for most of the game, in the last two innings the team got tired and Jessamine County capitalized on their fatigue.
Wiley had a closer warming up in the bullpen, but decided to keep Moore in for the duration of the game.
Wiley said he probably left him in longer than he should have.
"He wanted to go back out and get it done," he said. "That kid's just got such big heart."
In bottom of the sixth and final inning, Shelby County was still up 7 to 6. But after three at bats, Jessamine County had two on and only one out.
And with one swing, the game ended just as it began: with a homerun.
Jessamine County's Orion Howard took Moore's pitch out of the park and advanced his team to second round of the tournament.
Wiley said the loss was a heartbreaker.
"They are better than what they are showing," he said. "But baseball is like life: you learn from your mistakes."
The loss will put the boys in the loser's bracket of the double elimination tournament. Shelby County will face Middletown, Friday night at 5 p.m.
In order for Shelby County to win the tournament, they will have to win six games in a row.