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In last Wednesday’s edition, there was the All-Sixth Region Baseball team listed along with the top players in both the 23rd and 24th Districts. All of those honor teams were loaded with local players and coaches.
Congratulations certainly go out to North Bullitt head coach Brian Wise for being named Sixth Region Coach of the Year. Any time that you can win a baseball region that includes defending state champion Pleasure Ridge Park, Butler and Bullitt East, you have accomplished quite a feat.
Wise and the Eagles might not have felt so comfortable when they trailed DeSales heading into the bottom of the seventh inning in the first game of the Sixth Region Tournament, but this team had a great ability to win close games. In fact, of the six games in the regional tournament and the state tournament, North Bullitt won four of those games by a single run.
Wise wasn’t the only local baseball person honored as Bullitt East senior Chase Patton was named the Player of the Year while Bullitt Central assistant coach Roy Taylor was named the top assistant coach. All three of the individual honors in the Sixth Region went to Bullitt Countians, a fine showing and a tribute to the level of the sport played in the area.
Another post-season honor should be created for North Bullitt senior pitcher Josh Exton. With all the extensions and rain delays and excitement over wining the Sixth Region title, lost in all of that was the fact that Exton actually was the winning pitcher in all three regional games.
In today’s baseball world of pitching rules and limitations, it is a very unusual feat for a pitcher to even take the mound three times in a week. Exton actually pitched on four days during the week, but on three of those four days he pitched two innings or less.
Add in the fact that Exton was the winning pitcher in the first game of the state tournament and was also the winning pitcher in the championship game of the 23rd District Tournament and the senior won five straight games for the Eagles.
That might be a record that is never broken.
It would have been extremely interesting if North Bullitt had been able to get past St. Xavier and faced Simon Kenton in the state championships game.
On That Saturday, Exton would have been able to pitch a complete game. The way he finished the season, North Bullitt would have been in a great position.
But that is just the way high school baseball works out sometimes.
After beating Elizabethtown in the tourney opener, Wise may of had some thoughts of holding number two pitcher Jacob Kelly for game three and the meeting with St. Xavier.
That idea went out the window a few hours later as the Eagle coaches watched Connor bomb Boyd County, 12-0. North Bullitt had lost to Boyd County over Spring Break. After watching the Connor bats in that game, the decision was made to start Kelly in game two.
I’ve written it before and I’m sure I’ll write it again, but the hardest job in high school coaching belongs to baseball coaches concerning the post-season pitching rotations.
It just turns out to be one of those things where you look smart if the team wins and you look like the worst coach if your team loses.
There is often not a right or wrong answer.
One thing left out of the state tourney story was that Exton, along with sophomore Logan Wyatt, were named to the All-Tournament team in Lexington.