Russell County was on fire Monday.
The Lakers — champions of District 16 — played at a high level offensively and scored runs in all but one inning to cruise to a 12-1, five-inning win over Monroe County in the quarterfinals of the Region 4 Baseball Tournament at WKU’s Nick Denes Field.
Russell County (25-7), which sports the best record in all of Region 4, finished with 12 hits and was led by Brayton Scales, who went 3-for-3 with four RBI. Behind him, Peyton Back finished 3-for-4, while Hunter Thomas went 2-for-4 with an RBI.
While their offense was extremely effective, so was the Lakers’ pitching, as Jackson Best started on the mound and tossed a two-hit shutout with two strikeouts.
With its win, Russell County advances to Tuesday’s 5 p.m. semifinal, where it’ll meet the winner of District 14 champion South Warren and District 13 runner-up Franklin-Simpson.
Monroe County, which finishes its 2018 season with an overall record of 15-8, was led by Dylan Emberton’s 1-for-3, RBI day at the plate.
Monroe County earned a leadoff single from Ty Mink, but Best quickly retired the next three Falcons to leave Mink stranded at third base.
Russell County then went to work in its first at-bat.
Behind five hits and two committed errors by Monroe, the Lakers unloaded for seven runs in the bottom of the first inning to build a comfortable 7-0 lead. Russell scored its first run on an RBI single from Best before an error at shortstop plated a pair and put the Lakers up 3-0.
Following a pair of singles from Back and Will Bando, Henry Bertram reached on a fielder’s choice and scored Back in the process. As the Lakers batted through their lineup, Best came back to the plate and delivered a three-run triple to move the scoreboard to 7-0 after just one inning.
The Lakers carried their explosive offense into the ensuing frame and added four more runs to their side of the board. With two outs, Russell County was able to score on a passed ball, a two-run single by Bertram and a wild pitch to extend its advantage to a comfortable 11-0.
Russell County tacked on another run in the fourth and although Monroe County scratched its first run across in the fifth, the Lakers were still able to bring the contest to a close in the five.MCHS – 0 0 0 0 1 – 1 3 5RCHS – 7 4 0 1 x – 12 12 1WP: Best. LP: Emberton.–Senior writer Tyler Mansfield can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at @TMansfieldST.–