With a 0.61 ERA, pitching is doing it all for Chargers

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By Mike Farner

 MOUNT WASHINGTON – The offense is still sputtering, but the Bullitt East Chargers are doing everything else right as they posted three more wins last week.

The wins are coming from stout pitching and enough good defense to keep teams at bay. In the three wins last week, the Chargers allowed just three runs and only one of those runs was earned.

Overall,  the Chargers are now 15-4 after starting the season 2-2.

“We’re not scoring as much as we have in the past, but I think we can do better,” veteran Charger head coach Jeff Bowles said over the weekend as the team enters the final three weeks of the regular season. “There are not too many offensive juggernauts out there that we have to worry about.”

What opposing teams are having to worry about is the Bullitt East pitching. In 19 games this spring, more than half the time the opposing team had scored one (four) or no runs (six times).

“We have three or four guys I have no problem putting them out there on the mound,” Bowles pointed out.

The big win last week came in the first game on Thursday as the red and gold defeated 24th District rival Fern Creek 3-0. That victory moved the Chargers to 2-0 in the district-seeding games while Fern Creek fell to 1-1. Bullitt East played the final district game on Tuesday of this week against Jeffersontown.

While senior pitcher Chase Patton was firmly in control of the Fern Creek batters in this game, finishing with 14 strike-outs, the Chargers did not score until the bottom of the sixth when they posted all three of the game’s runs.

The first hit did it all as Brayden Blair crushed a ball over the fence for a home run on the very first pitch of the inning.

Jacob Moore followed that hit with a single and then when a fly ball was dropped in the outfield, Bullitt East had runners on second and third. Bowles went for the squeeze and Zach Masden laid down a perfect bunt. Moore scored easily on the play and on the throw to first, Wilson rounded third and raced home with the final run.

Patton allowed just one hit in the game and no Fern Creek runner got past second base. There were the 14 strike-outs with only two walks. The lone hit was an infield single by the number nine hitter in the fifth inning.

“Chase brought his ‘A’ game,” Bowles noted. “He was in total control.”

Bullitt East had only six hits in the game. Two of those hits were by Masden and the only extra base hit was Blair’s home run.

A night later, Bullitt East traveled to Ballard, the state’s 10th ranked team for a twilight contest. Bowles did not remember ever winning at Ballard, but the Chargers pulled it off this time, holding on for 3-2 victory.

“That was a good win,” the coach said. “That game gave the kids a lot of confidence.”

Bullitt East scored single runs in the second, third and sixth innings. Ballard responded with solo runs in the sixth and seventh.

Senior Tyler Krauth had a strong outing on the mound for the Chargers as he picked up the win. Krauth worked the first six innings and while he did allow seven hits, the one run was unearned. The final numbers showed the senior with six strike-outs and two walks.

Adrian Maddox came in and got the save. He did allow two hits and a run, but he got the final out on a strike-out.

Bullitt East had just three hits in the game. Two of those hits came in the second inning as Patton reached on a single and then stole second. After a single by Moore put runners on the corners, Bowles sent Moore on a delayed steal. Moore was in the rundown long enough for Patton to score.

In the third, Dillon Coffman was hit by a pitch and then raced all the way to third base on a botched pick-off attempt. Masden then hit a ball off the end of his bat that had a funny spin that fooled the second baseman who committed an error that allowed Coffman to score.

The run in the sixth scored without a hit. There was a walk and a stolen base and then a sacrifice. Zac Ching then came home from third when Ballard had another error at second base.

Ballard had four errors in the game.

The other hit in the game for the Chargers was a double by junior Jacob Bowles.

Saturday was a difficult day for the Chargers as the team learned earlier that day about the death of the mother of Cole Harmon. She had been a key member of the team despite battling cancer.

It took the red and gold a little time to get their feet back on the ground. Southern scored a run in the top of the first and the Chargers trailed for the first time all week until scoring four times in the bottom of the second. They then blew the game open with seven runs in the third.

Bullitt East had ten hits in the 11-1 victory including a triple and double by Masden. Both Ching and Bowles had two hits and Blair drove home a pair of runs. This was also the first start for freshman Jacob Reece at first base and he singled home two runs with a bases loaded single in his first varsity plate appearance.

After playing Jeffersontown earlier this week, the Chargers will host three games in the Louisville Invitational Tournament this week. That action will start with a game against Thomas Nelson on Thursday at 6 p.m. and will continue with games against Newport Central Catholic on Friday at 6:30 p.m. and McCracken County on Saturday at 1:30 p.m.