Hoppers rally late, top Chiefs in Hoptown

BRYAN EDWARDS | KNE Sports

Paducah Chiefs ace Sawyer Smallwood went six innings Friday night against the Hoptown Hoppers, nabbing four strikeouts and just three earned runs. He wasn't charged with the 8-7 road loss. Hopkinsville and Paducah play again tonight at Brooks Stadium for Star Wars Night.

HOPKINSVILLE -- In a Friday night battle between the top two teams in the Ohio Valley League West, Paducah struck first. But it was Hoptown that got the last laugh.

Down by as many as three runs, the Hoppers scored six runs down the stretch, including five in the seventh inning, to top Paducah 8-7 at Tiger Field on Friday night.

The Chiefs wasted no time putting runs on the board, as Alan Roden brought home two with a single in the top of the first frame. Three batters later with the bases loaded, Palmer Campbell drew a walk to make it 3-0.

Hoptown began the trek back in the second inning, scoring on an RBI ground out from Greg Mehlhaff and a sacrifice fly from Hunter Evans.

Back-to-back innings with a run scored gave the Chiefs a 5-2 lead after four. The Hoppers responded with a run in the fifth stanza to cut the lead back down to two runs.

Hoptown still had a little gas in the tank at the plate, as it rolled off five runs in the bottom of the seventh -- highlighted by Charlie Fischer's grand slam -- to take its first lead of the game, lending to an 8-5 advantage into the ninth inning.

Paducah started the final frame with back-to-back singles. Those two were brought home on an error by Mehlhaff, cutting the lead to just one. Hoppers' closer Brennan Crooms rallied off three consecutive outs, however, en route to Hoptown getting its 20th win of the season.

The two teams will be back on the field against one another tonight at Brooks Stadium. First pitch is slated for 6:30 p.m.

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Paducah 301 100 002 7 10 2

Hoptown 020 010 50x 8 10 3

Smallwood, Turner (7), Hansen (7) and Dodd, Durham (5); Losey, Huber (5), Crooms (8) and Evans.

WP: Huber. LP: Hansen. Sv: Crooms.

2B: P-Bloomer; H-Bennett, Farmer, Hill. 3B: None. HR: H-Fischer (3 on in 7th). Top hitters: P-Hudson 3-5, Russ 2-3; H-McGowan 3-3, Fischer 3-4 (4 RBI). Records: Paducah 15-14, Hoptown 20-11.

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