The McCracken County baseball team will head back to the KHSAA state tournament for the seventh consecutive season, looking to bring home the first championship for the First Region since 1960.
The 32-5 No. 3 ranked Mustangs will face off against fourth-ranked Bowling Green on Saturday, June 12, at Western Kentucky University, with the first pitch scheduled for 4:30 p.m.
Per KHSAA, McCracken County is ranked in seven Top 25 statistical categories. The Mustangs are No. 2 in the state in runs (362), No. 2 in hits (375), No. 2 in RBIs (309), No. 5 in team batting average (.364), No. 6 in doubles (73), No. 7 in earned run average (1.87), No. 14 in home runs (18) and No. 14 in strikeout leaders (286).
Region 1 Player of the Year Ben Higdon comes in at No. 3 in hits (60), No. 7 in runs (54), No. 11 in doubles (15), No. 13 in RBIs (48) and No. 25 in batting average (.488).
The recent McCracken graduate leads his team in hits, RBIs, doubles, home runs (5), walks (26) and runs. On the mound, Higdon leads his rotation with 59 strikeouts while rocking a 2.25 ERA.
Fellow graduate Grant Godwin leads the team with 26 stolen bases on 26 attempts this season. In addition to his natural talent running the bases, Godwin has been a beast offensively.
Godwin has a .402 batting average with 39 hits, 34 RBIs and three home runs. He also boasts a 1.83 ERA on the mound in 23 innings of work with 35 strikeouts.
With a stacked rotation, the Mustangs will rely on Josh Tucker, Ross Aldridge and Jack Bennett on the mound in crucial moments during the state tournament.
Tucker, a recent graduate, has been ranked by KHSAA at No. 17 in the Top 25 wins leaders. He leads the team with eight wins this season and has a 1.25 ERA with 47 strikeouts.
The freshman Aldridge led his team to victory in the First Region championship game against St. Mary on Monday night in the 9-4 win. He is ranked at No. 19 for the KHSAA’s Top 25 ERAs at 1.12 in 43 2/3 innings of work.
Bennett, a junior, is a stud off and on the mound. Offensively, he has a .298 batting average with 34 hits and 31 RBIs in 114 at-bats. Pitching-wise, he has an ERA of 1.75 with 28 strikeouts and the team’s lone save of the year.
The Mustangs will have a strong lineup top to bottom with the likes of Rivers Moffatt, Braden Vinyard, Eli James, Nate Lang, Brandon Dodd and Dylan Riley joining Godwin, Bennett and Higdon.
McCracken County’s opponent, Bowling Green, has a 34-5 record and is ranked in eight categories for the KHSAA Top 25 leaders. The Purples are No. 6 in batting average (.363), No. 4 in runs (358), No. 3 in hits (371), No. 3 in RBIs (301), No. 3 in strikeouts (317), No. 17 in home runs (18) and No. 23 in doubles (62) and boast a team ERA of 2.08.