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Walton-Verona wins 8th Region All “A” Classic baseball title without giving up a hit in three games

By Terry Boehmker
NKyTribune sports reporter

Walton-Verona won the 8th Region All “A” Classic baseball tournament without giving up a hit in three consecutive games.

The Bearcats defeated Trimble County, 13-1, in the championship game on Thursday behind a no-hitter by sophomore Evan Kerns. The only run he gave up came on a batter who drew a walk, advanced to third on a wild pitch and scored on the catcher’s throw to second base on a steal attempt by another base runner.

Walton-Verona baseball players, left to right, Jimmie Shields, Evan Kerns, Nick Allen and Travis Smith pose with their all-tournament awards.

After Walton-Verona scored six runs in the top of the fifth to take a 13-1 lead, Kerns completed his no-hitter in the bottom of the fifth and the Bearcats won the game based on the 10-run rule.

In their first two region tournament games, the Bearcats defeated Williamstown and Carroll County by matching 11-0 scores. The pitchers who posted no-hitters in those victories were senior Travis Smith and junior Nick Allen.

Smith, a University of Kentucky recruit, has not allowed a hit in his first three games on the mound this season. In 18 innings, he has 45 strikeouts and five walks. Allen has a 4-0 pitching record, allowing four runs on five hits in 16 innings.

Kerns has a 4-1 record after throwing a no-hitter in Thursday’s region final with seven strikeouts and four walks. He also had a good game at the plate, hitting two triples and driving in two runs. Allen went 2-for-4 with a triple and six RBI. Smith also had a triple and Jimmy Shields was 3-for-3 with an RBI.

Smith was named the region tournament’s most valuable player. Kerns, Allen and Shields joined him on the all-tournament team.

Walton-Verona (9-1) advances to the sectional round of the All “A” Classic small-school playoffs and faces 7th Region champion Kentucky Country Day (2-2) at 5:30 p.m. in Louisville. The winner of that game will play in the eight-team state tournament April 24 and 25 in Owensboro.

The Bearcats made it to the small-school state tournament in 2017 and 2018, but they lost to Kentucky Country Day, 8-6, in the 2019 sectional playoffs. Last year, the entire high school baseball season was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

St. Henry won the 9th Region All “A” Classic baseball title earlier this week and will play the 10th Region champion in a sectional game. Brossart will take on Bracken County in a 10th Region semifinal game at 1 p.m. Saturday. The winner will play Nicholas County in the championship game later that day.

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