GOODY, Ky. - The Belfry Pirates have won 22 regular season games heading into a home contest Thursday with Lawrence County.
With the District Tournament starting next week, the Pirates could be peaking at the right time. Many Belfry fans think this could be the team that wins a regional title and makes a trip to the state tournament in Lexington.
But as the saying goes, “you have to take them one game at a time.”
Belfry head coach Michael Hagy knows that district rivals Pike Central and Phelps are both good teams.
“Pre-season our goal was to win the district and we took care of that in the regular season,” Hagy said. “That puts us in the finals and guarantees us a shot in the regional tournament. That is our first goal every year.”
Another goal that some of the older players wanted was to win 20 or more games, Hagy added. “They had mentioned about setting the school wins record. We still have a good chance to do that. But, that doesn’t matter if we go into the tournament and lose. But I like our chances.”
“This is going to be one of the better district tournaments we’ve had in a while. Pike Central has a good group of young players,” Hagy added. “They have two or three good pitchers. This should have the makings for a good district tournament.”
The 60th District Tourney will be hosted by Belfry and played at Massey Energy Field starting Monday and going through the rest of the week. The Pirates have a five game winning streak heading into the final two regular season games and they have won 13 of their last 14 contests.
“We take pride of being one of the best in our district and regional,” Hagy said. “I think when you get by Pikeville, Johnson Central, Prestonsburg and Belfry there is a lot of separation between the top four teams and the rest of the 15 teams. The top four teams are all pretty close.”
Hagy believes his pitching staff is one of the best in the region. He thinks Prestonsburg (20-13) has the best offensive team.
“You can’t win without pitching and defense and that has been two major strengths for us this year,” Hagy added. “If we get just a little bit of offense, I think we have a shot.”
“Our top three starters have been Tyler Williamson, Jared Masters and Zac Fields, not necessarily in that order,” Hagy said. Those three have led in innings, wins, ERA and most other statistical categories for the Bucs. “Keegan Fields has given quality innings and two freshmen Keaton Taylor and Dustin Jewell have gotten some varsity innings. Overall I think our pitching has been pretty solid. There were probably 10 to 11 games that we didn’t give up more than three runs. If you do that in high school baseball, you should win some games.”
Looking at the regular season record, Belfry’s staff has only given up three or less runs in 19 of their 22 wins to this point in the season.
“I can’t say enough good things about our pitching,” Hagy said. “They’ve carried us when we weren’t hitting the ball. But, here lately we are starting to click at the right time on offense.”
“This is the time you want to peak,” Hagy stressed. “We had one game against Hazard where we didn’t show up, but for the most part we’ve been getting timely hits.”
Another aspect that Hagy is proud of his team is that they are bunting the baseball. “They’re bunting for hits and getting down sacrifice bunts. That was key in our recent win over Pikeville.”
“With the new bats, we don’t have the guys that are going to hit the ball out of the park. We have to play small ball. But small ball sort of goes hand in hand with having good pitching and playing good defense,” Hagy said.
Hagy believes if his team can get just a few runs that the Pirates will have a shot to win any game. He just hopes that those wins continue on through the district and regional tournament.
Hagy has several seniors who are having outstanding seasons. They include Williams, Masters, Howie Dotson and Keegan Fields. Several underclassmen have also contributed. They include juniors Zack Francisco, Madison Ghormley, Eli Huddle and Sean Hurley. Sophomores Reed Williamson, Joey Duty, Zach Fields and Cameron Johnson have also contributed to the success Belfry has had on the baseball diamond.
He would like nothing better than to see the Pirates make it to the state baseball tournament in Lexington. That would be the first time since 1961 that Belfry has went that far in post season play in baseball
(Kyle Lovern is the sports editor for the Williamson Daily News. Comments or story ideas can be sent to email@example.com)