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Charger baseball opens with three straight wins

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By Mike Farner

 MOUNT WASHINGTON – The Bullitt East Chargers made the right moves at the right times last week as they opened the 2013 season with three straight wins.

As it turned out, the start of the scheduled season for the Chargers came just when the weather cooperated last week. The Chargers had to battle cold weather on Thursday against Nelson County but then had good weather for games on Friday and Saturday.

The season started for the Chargers with a 12-0 win over visiting Nelson County in a game that lasted only five innings. A day later, the Chargers’ scored just once, but that was enough to beat Bethlehem 1-0. On Saturday, the week ended with a 4-3 victory over a strong Christian Academy squad.

“I’m very pleased with the way things started,” long-time Bullitt East head coach Jeff Bowles said over the weekend. “We didn’t hit a lot over the last two games, but we saw two guys who will be pitching at the next level in those games.”

It was a solid start for the Chargers on Thursday as they scored in each of the first four innings to turn back Nelson County 12-0. It was 6-0 after three innings before Bullitt East blew it open with six runs in the bottom of the fourth frame.

The win on the mound went to senior Jonathon Recktenwald who worked the first four innings. He allowed the Cardinals only one hit and he did not walk a batter while striking out seven.

At the plate, the cold weather didn’t bother the Chargers as they pounded out 12 hits. Three of the runs were driven in by junior Alex Ralph who had a bases loaded double with two outs in the third inning. Senior Austin Money had a hit in each of his three plate appearances. Alex Richardson collected two hits and senior Derek Jones added a hit that drove in two runs.

It was a completely different type of game on Friday as the Chargers traveled to Bardstown and managed to pull out a 1-0 victory over Bethlehem.

The only run for the Chargers came in the top of the first inning when Chris Ethridge drew a bases loaded walk. 

Bullitt East had just five hits in the game and two of those came off the bat of senior catcher Hunter Wood.

The Chargers got a strong one-two pitching performance from juniors Chase Patton and Tyler Krauth as they allowed the Eagles only three hits. Patton got the start and the win as he worked into the fifth inning. Patton allowed just two hits while walking three and recording eight strike-outs.

Krauth then came in to get the last out of the fifth inning and then worked the final two frames to get the save. The junior gave up just one hit and he struck out one as he faced just eight batters.

Bethlehem did not get a runner past second base.

“We threatened a few times, but we couldn’t do anything with those chances,” Bowles said. “We didn’t get the key two out hits like the other two games.”

On Saturday, Bullitt East played host to Christian Academy, one of the top teams in the Seventh Region. The Centurions put their best pitcher on the mound for this game in senior Riley Thompson who has committed to play for the University of Louisville.

Both teams scored single runs in the third inning and that was the score into the sixth when Thompson came out of the game. Bullitt East responded with three runs in the bottom of the sixth and then held on as Christian Academy scored twice in the top of the seventh.

Jacob Woodruff worked the first four innings and the senior allowed only one run but he did not get a decision. Woodruff gave up only three hits.

The win for Bullitt East went to Ralph who worked two and a third innings after coming in for Woodruff. Ralph was responsible for the two runs in the seventh despite allowing only two hits.

The last two outs of the game were made by junior Zac Ching who got the save as he pitched to four batters.

Bullitt East had only four hits in the game and the team had only one hit through the first five innings, a single by Woodruff. The lone early run scored on a balk. In the sixth, the Chargers got consecutive two-out hits from Michael Faul and Ethridge and they both scored on a double by Ching.

“I don’t have any complaints at all,” Bowles said of the first week of the season. “The pitchers have worked out of jams and then the defense has made plays.”

The overall strength of the Bullitt East program was shown when CAL held Thompson for a Saturday start despite the fact that they had a game with St. Xavier two days later (a game they lost 4-3).

“It is good to be well thought of,” Bowles noted. “If we see all number ones that will make us better. We’ll see how we respond, but so far, so good.”