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SHEPHERDSVILLE – Despite a limited line-up last week, the Bullitt Central baseball squad stayed hot, winning the title in the first annual Generals’ Spring Break Bash at the new Thomas Nelson High School.
The Cougars won four consecutive games over three days to claim the big trophy after beating Edmonson County 13-8 in Wednesday’s bitterly cold final game.
“We were really short-handed and we battled all week,” Bullitt Central head coach G.J. Moore said later in the week. “We had a bunch of guys playing out of position. We battled through it pretty well. We pitched well enough to win.
“Overall, it was a really good week,” the coach added.
With the four wins at the tournament, Bullitt Central has a 10-3 record, the second most wins of any team in the Sixth Region other than Bullitt East (13-0).
The first three games of the tournament were pool play with Bullitt Central beating Thomas Nelson 9-6 before turning back Hart County 11-10. That set up a winner to the championship game against DeSales that the Cougars won 7-2.
In the first game against Thomas Nelson, a team coached by former Bullitt Central player Brian Coffman, the Cougars jumped on top early and then held on for the win.
Because of the short pitching staff, Moore put the ball for the first game into the hands of junior Dakota Mason, who was starting his first varsity game. Mason worked the first four innings and allowed only one hit. Sophomore Nick Caswell then went to the mound, but he got hit on the ankle and was out for the rest of the week.
In the end, Jayme Curtis worked the last two innings to get the save.
The Bullitt Central offense got seven hits with six of those seven coming from three players. Justin Rippy, Curtis and C.J. Phillips each had two hits with Rippy, who was starting his first game of the season, driving home three of the runs.
On Tuesday, Bullitt Central played two games back-to-back.
In the first game, Bullitt Central won a scoring barrage as they slipped past Hart County 11-10. It was the first time all season that Bullitt Central was outhit as Hart County collected 13 hits to just nine for the Cougars.
Zack McCauley was the starting pitcher and Moore left him on the mound into the sixth inning despite the junior giving up nine earned runs and 12 hits. Hart County took the lead in that sixth inning
Bullitt Central battled back and with two runs in the bottom of the sixth got the win.
Curtis came in to get the win as he got the last four outs of the game for Bullitt Central.
At the plate, senior Cody Powell drove home five runs as he had two hits including a double. Curtis also had two hits and senior Casey Goins drove in three runs with a double.
The game that Bullitt Central pointed to all week was the final ‘pool’ game on Tuesday against DeSales, a program that is always a contender in the Sixth Region.
“It is always good to get one from those guys,” Moore noted.
Moore put his best pitcher on the mound, senior Ben Parker, for this game. Parker responded with a powerful outing that saw him not give up a run until the seventh inning and that came on a bloop single. DeSales had just five hits as parker recorded five strikeouts.
“He was pretty dominant all day,” Moore said. “He was under 90 pitches for seven innings.”
Bullitt Central had just seven hits, but three of those hits went for extra bases. Parker helped his own cause with a triple and both Powell and freshman Cameron Dukes had doubles. Powell drove in three of the runs. Jake Muncy added a pair of singles.
That set up the final on Wednesday night in a contest that didn’t start until after 8 p.m. and was played in temperatures hovering around 40 degrees.
Dukes got the start for Bullitt Central and he gave up five runs in the second inning, but then settled down and worked into the sixth inning, allowing only six hits. Unfortunately, when he left, Edmonson County had tied the game at 8-8.
Mason then came on and got the win as he worked the last two innings, giving up only one hit.
Bullitt Central never trailed in the game as they scored seven times in the bottom of the first inning. They then won the game with five runs in the bottom of the sixth.
The offense for the Cougars collected 10 hits. Powell continued his strong play with two hits and his two runs batted in gave him 13 during the four games in the tournament. Bullitt Central also got doubles from Rippy, Davis and Parker with Rippy driving home two runs. Curtis scored three times as he had a hit and two walks as well as two stolen bases.
After some time off at the end of spring break, Bullitt Central will be back in action this week and Moore expects to be as close to full strength as possible. The team has lost Tyler Bray for the season as he had his ankle operated on last week. Jasen Davis will be back after a separated shoulder, but Moore feels that the senior will not play the field the rest of the season, but should be able to be a designated hitter.
“We have a good group,” Moore said. “They are starting to believe they can play well. We’ll see how the pitching goes."