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Big Inning propels Chargers

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24th District Baseball Tournament

By Thomas Barr

 OKOLONA - Colten Maupin was outstanding in his recent outings against Ballard and Elizabethtown.

So when it was time for Bullitt East Charger coach Jeff Bowles to select his starting pitcher for the 24th District semifinal against Fairdale, he went with the hot hand.

And the selection paid off.

While the bats were silent, with the exception of a nine-run third inning, Maupin was on fire the entire day.

The junior didn't allow a Bulldog to reach second base in the 10-0 five-inning victory.

The win advanced Bullitt East to the Sixth Region tournament and a spot in the 24th District championship game.

"We have at least four good pitchers who would have done a good job today," said Bowles, whose team went to 22-8 on the year. "Colten was outstanding."

What impressed Bowles about his hurler was that in the Elizabethtown game, the defense committed seven errors but the pitcher never lost his composure and the Chargers wound up winning the game.

On Wednesday, the Fairdale Bulldogs had just two hits and another two reached by a hit batter. Half of those baserunners were picked off first base.

The Charger bats needed a couple of innings to get going. But when they did, Bullitt East sent 13 batters to the plate in the third frame.

By the end of the inning, seven hits resulted in nine runs.

"Hitting is contagious," said Bowles. "These guys have been there before. They are focused and this is the time of year when you want to be playing your best."

In the third, Alex Richardson led off with a single and Cody Morris doubled. Maupin helped his own cause with a 2-RBI double. Tyler Minogue followed with a walk and Chaz Jackson reached on an error. Hunter Wood drove home one run with a double and Kyle Ethridge followed with a 2-RBI single. 

Trevor Gonzalez walked and Richardson had an infield single. With the bases loaded, Morris lined a bases-loaded triple to make it 9-0.

The final run scored after two were out in the fifth.

Ethridge singled and advanced on a wild pitch. Walks to Gonzalez and Shane Valentine loaded the bases. Richardson was hit by the pitch to plate Ethridge.

After losing a lot of talent to graduation the past couple of years, Bowles said the expectations were still high but he had some questions about this year's team.

However, he has been very pleased with the season.

"Everyone does his job," said Bowles. "The four seniors are doing a great job of leadership and our younger players have really come along."

"We have a lot of good kids who are pretty good baseball players," said Bowles. "We've got good chemistry and the dugout is active. Our players have learned to be very good teammates."

The Chargers will play on Monday at St. Xavier in the opening round of the Sixth Region tournament.