Charger baseball stays unbeaten

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By Mike Farner

 MOUNT WASHINGTON – The Bullitt East Chargers remained undefeated over the first two week of the regular season as the red and gold posted four more wins during a week shortened by more bad weather.

Still, coach Jeff Bowles’ team got a regular season game in on Wednesday as they beat South Oldham 7-1 despite having just two hits. That was followed a day later with a 14-2 win at home against another Eighth Region foe, Anderson County.

On Saturday, Bullitt East traveled to Pleasure Ridge Park for a showcase event. While the Chargers did not take on the state’s top-ranked team on Saturday, they did win two contests, beating Boone County 13-0 and then Campbell County 5-1. 

“When you are 7-0 there is not much to complain about,” Bowles said over the weekend. “It’s a long season. We’ll lose at some point. It’s how you react to tough times that says so much about you as a team.”

The Chargers are also benefitting from a deep line-up. The second and third options at some positions are playing well when they get they are getting an early-season opportunity.

“That competition for playing time is a magical thing,” Bowles said. “Plus, the enthusiasm in our dug-out has been off the charts. Other teams think we are crazy. This group is closer than most groups of 25 kids.”

Against South Oldham, Bowles wasn’t very happy with the team striking out seven times, but there wasn’t a lot of pitching hit. The Dragon pitchers walked 12 Bullitt East batters, leading to most of the final offensive numbers. The only two hits came from senior Jacob Woodruff on the first pitch of the game and then an infield hit by Michael Faul in the sixth inning.

Bullitt East scored three times in the first inning and four more times in the fourth. South Oldham’s run came in the bottom of the fourth.

The starting pitcher for the Chargers was Zac Ching, but he worked only two innings and had some trouble finding the plate. Jonathon Recktenwald then worked the next four innings before Zack Patton got the final three outs.

A day later, Bullitt East fell behind 1-0 but then scored seven times in the second inning to break open a game against Anderson County. The Chargers added a run in the fourth and then six more in the fourth to win 14-2.

Alex Ralph got the win for the Chargers as he worked the first four innings, allowing only three hits with six strike-outs. Both of the runs were earned. Tyler Krauth worked the fifth inning before the game was stopped by the run-rule.

The Chargers pounded out 13 hits in this rout. Woodruff and Chris Ethridge each had a double. Woodruff finished with two hits and drive in three runs. Freshman Jacob Bowles, in his first varsity start, also drove in three runs with two hits. The Chargers also got two hits from Patton, Faul and Austin Money.

The outcome was just as easy the next day as the Chargers four the PRP facility to their liking as they beat up on Boone County 13-0. The big inning was the third as the red and gold exploded for ten runs.

Bullitt East collected 11 hits in the win including three hits each from Faul and Alex Richardson. Richards drove in four runs while Faul had a pair of singles. Both Woodruff and Money pounded out doubles and each drove home two runs.

Recktenwald picked up the win on the mound as he worked four innings, allowing only one hit with a walk and two strike-outs.

“Our defense played well behind him,” Bowles said. “We want him to throw strikes and let them hit it and we’ll make the plays behind him.”

Derek Jones pitched one inning for the Chargers, but then was lost indefinitely with an injury in the second game on Saturday.

       Bullitt East had a slightly tougher time of hit in the second game on Saturday before beating Campbell County 5-1.

       Woodruff was the winning pitcher in this game as he worked five innings, allowing five hits while recording five strike-outs. Krauth came in and worked the last two innings, giving up just one hit.

       Bullitt East collected six hits in the win including two by Richardson. The only extra base hit was a double by Ethridge. Both Hunter wood and Richardson drove home a pair of runners.

       Wood, who has signed with Western Kentucky University, is not seeing anything to hit in the number three spot in the line-up.

       “I give him all the credit for not expanding his strike zone,” Bowles said. “If I was an opponent I would make the guys behind him beat them. The guys behind him are starting to hit. He has been walked a lot. He is averaging over a walk a game.”

       Bullitt East will get a chance to play against Pleasure Ridge Park later this season on the same field they played on Saturday. The Panthers return almost their entire squad from the team that beat the Chargers 3-0 in last year’s Sixth Region final.

       “I think the kids like to go to PRP and play,” Bowles said. “That’s the big hump to get over this season.”

       Bullitt East had a game on Monday against Bullitt Central snowed out. Both coaches hope to reschedule the contest but not date has been set up. That is the only game the two former district rivals had scheduled against each other this spring.