Kerns, Fighting Tigers hold off Russell, 3-2

Published 2:48 am Thursday, March 28, 2024


FLATWOODS, Ky. — Chaydan Kerns went long and longer and the Ironton Fighting Tigers went home a winner.

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Kerns went 6 innings in only his second start of the season and went long at the plate with a home run as Ironton held on to edged the Russell Red Devils 3-2 on Wednesday.

Kerns gave up only 4 hits and one earned run and struck out 9 while walking just one as he got the win.

“Going six innings is obviously a great feeling and being able to progress. The longer I throw is definitely something I love about my game,” said Kerns.

“The control on my breaking ball was really good tonight. At times, I felt more confident in my off-speed than I did with my fastball.”

Ironton coach Travis Wylie praised not only Kerns’ performance but his entire team as the Fighting Tigers improved to 2-1.

“That was a heck of a game from Chaydan. He had his stuff working on the mound and when he got in trouble he kept his poise and worked out of it,” said Wylie.

“The home run was an exciting moment for him and he’s worked hard on his hitting this year. He some little things right at the plate.”

Russell got a run in the bottom of the first inning when Kyle Mokas flared a soft pop fly down the left field line for a double, went to third on a balk and scored when Elijah Hankins grounded out.

The score remained that way as Ironton was unable to dent the plate against Hankins who was the Russell starting pitcher.

But in the sixth inning, Tyler Roach beat out an infield hit to shortstop and went to second on a ground out.

Kerns then stroked a 2-2 pitch over the bench in deep left-center and Ironton had a 2-1 lead.

“All I was thinking about was hitting a gap and getting Tyler ( Roach) in to tie the game, but he hung a curveball and I took advantage of it,” said Kerns of his first career home run.

Ian Ginger then walked  and raced around to score when Brady Moatz doubled for what proved to be the winning run.

“Moatz just keeps hitting the ball hard,” said Wylie. “We played a very good game defensively, but we still have to keep improving. We are making progress.”

Russell got a run back in the bottom of the inning with one out.

After a strikeout, Jayden Frasure doubled. Kerns struck out the next batter but walked Jared Whitt. Frasure stole third base and scored on a passed ball.

Kerns got his third strikeout of the inning and kept the lead at 3-2.

Russell mounted a rally in the bottom of the seventh against reliever Braydon Baker.

Mokas drew a one-out walk and went to third on an infield hit by Hankins. Parker Mitchell tried to squeeze the runner home but Mokas was caught in a rundown and Moatz threw to Kerns who tagged out the runner.

A passed ball put runners at second and third and Nick Adams was walked to load the bases. But Baker got the next batter to pop out to second base and end the game.

Moatz was 2-2 with a double and RBI while Tanner Kleinman, Roach and Kerns were all 1-3.

Hankins went 3-4 with a triple and RBI for Russell while Mokas and Adams were 1-3 and Frasure 1-4.

Hankins went 5.1 innings in taking the loss. He gave up 5 hits, struck out one and walked 4. Caden Mitchell finished up and struck out all 4 batters he faced.

Ironton 000 003 0 = 3 5 1

Russell 100 001 0 = 2 6 0

Chaydan Kerns, Braydon Baker (7) and Brady Moatz. Elijah Hankins, Caden Mitchell (6) and Jared Whitt. W-Kerns (IP-6.0, H-5, R-2, ER-1, K-9, BB-2, HBP-1). Save–Baker (IP-1.0, H-1, R-0, K-0, BB-2). L-Hankins (IP-5.1, H-5, R-3, ER-3, K-1, BB-4). Mitchell (IP-1.2, H-0, R-0, K-4, BB-0). Hitting-Ironton: Chaydan Kerns 1-3 HR 2-RBI, Brady Moatz 2-2 2B RBI, Tanner Kleinman 1-3, Tyler Roach 1-3; Russell: Kyle Mokas 1-3 2B, Elijah Hankins 3-4 3B RBI, Nick Adams 1-3 2B, Jayden Frasure 1-4.