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Grant County baseball team wants offensive firepower, wins during tough stretch

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By Paul Gable

Grant County High School baseball coach Van Duncan knew what he was doing when he made the schedule, which featured games against Harrison County and Gallatin County, in addition to seven consecutive away games to open the season.

"I wanted our team to be tested and ready once we got into the district portion of our schedule," Duncan said.

Two games into the season, the experiment has come with mixed results for the Braves, who lost 13-4 to Harrison County and defeated Gallatin County 4-3 last week.

Against Harrison County, GCHS starter Dillon Adams gave up two home runs as the Thorobreds raced out to a quick 11-0 lead after two innings.

Despite falling behind early, the Braves managed to keep their composure, according to Duncan. One positive in the loss was the pitching of Josh Cummins, who gave up only two runs. In addition, senior first baseman Scotty Kelley blasted a grand-slam.

"I'm not too concerned with our first game because other than the first two innings, we really came out and competed. The boys kept their heads up and never quit and never got down on each other. Dillon Adams had a tough game, but I am certain he will bounce back," Duncan said.

The Braves were able to shake off the tough loss to Harrison County by defeating Gallatin County 4-3, due to a strong pitching performance by Jonathan Cain. Dillon Pelfrey came in to relieve Cain in the fifth inning and did not allow a run.

"I have complete confidence in my team, and after the game at Gallatin, I saw a little something about their mental toughness, and I liked what I saw," Duncan said.

In the seventh inning, Pelfrey helped his cause by notching a two-out hit and then stole second base. Moments later, Cummins blasted a hit to score Pelfrey, lifting GCHS.

"We shut them down on a key play by Jeremy Martin at third base," Duncan said.

Duncan learned one major thing about his team during its first two games.

"We have some boys that are scrappers," he said.

In addition, he learned that his team has to do a better job at the plate.

Leading the way has been the pitching rotation of Cummins, Pelfrey and Cain, but Duncan says a new player is making a name for himself, as Aaron Goe is playing well at second base.

"I have complete confidence in my team, and after the game at Gallatin, I saw a little something about their mental toughness, and I liked what I saw," Duncan said.

Huge week ahead for the Braves

The Grant County baseball team may bring a 2-1 record into this week, butDuncan acknowledges that the next two weeks will be the true indicator as to what kind of team he has.

However, games on the road against Gallatin County and Pendleton County, and a trip to the Florence Freedom's Champion Window Field on Friday for an 8 p.m. date with Conner has Duncan a little anxious.

Duncan said the game Friday will be "exciting" for his team as they will get a taste of a minor league setting.

"We are all looking forward to it, but I am a little nervous with the weather. Again, they are calling for rain. We will approach the game the same way as we have all of our other games. It is a regular season game, and we are going into it to win. It is something different and exciting, but the goal does not change because of that. We have a big two weeks ahead of us. We'll have a much better feel for our team after these weeks," he said.