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Chargers bounce back with hot bats

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Baseball

By Mike Farner

MOUNT WASHINGTON - After being shut-out for the first time this season and striking out 17 times on Tuesday against North Bullitt, the Bullitt East Chargers were obviously down.

That didn’t last long. Over the next four days, the Chargers won four of five games. In the four wins, the red and gold scored 54 runs and didn’t strike out 17 times in the four games.

The Charger comeback started with an important 11-4 victory over Southern on Wednesday and continued on Thursday with a 10-2 victory against Nelson County. The week continued with a 19-9 win over North Hardin before Bullitt East split a pair of games on Saturday on a trip to Madisonville. The red and gold beat the host team 14-11 before seeing the winning streak snapped in a 4-1 loss to Daviess County.

All of that action last week left coach Jeff Bowles’ team with a 12-4 record.

The coach felt that the loss on Tuesday opened a few eyes.

“He was really good on Tuesday and we were really bad,’ the coach said of North Bullitt pitcher Matt Wagner. “It seemed like a wake-up call to us.”

Because of the loss to North Bullitt in a district game, Bullitt East really had to bounce back 24 hours later against Southern and they did just that, riding the strong pitching of junior Brandon Alphin to an 11-4 victory.

Alphin pitched a complete game while striking out ten. He allowed just seven hits and only two of the runs were earned. He did walk three.

After being shut-out for the first time this season the day before, Bullitt East improved on that as they pounded out 15 hits including doubles by Matt Bowles and Josh Whitmer. Whitmer finished with three hits and drove in four runs while Robbie Gibson had two hits and three RBIs. Justin Jones added three hits while Jimmy Hoffman had two hits.

Against Nelson County on Thursday, Jeff Bowles put the ball in the hands of sophomore Chaz Jackson and he was up to the task as he allowed just two hits over six innings to get the win. He kept the ball in play as he struck-out just two and walked three. Christian Bailey came on and pitched the last inning.

Bullitt East, which never trailed in the game, collected 14 hits in this win. Five of the hits went for extra bases including a home run by Zack McCarthy and a pair of doubles by Alphin. Jones and Hoffman also added doubles. McCarthy, Bowles, Alphin and Cory Johnson each had two hits while Tyler Downs was on base three times.

For the first time ever, Bullitt East put an eighth-grader on the mound on Friday against traditional Fifth Region power North Hardin and Jacob Woodruff made it work with a strong outing. The youngster pitched five innings and while nine runs scored with him on the mound, only three of the runs were earned. Woodruff struck out six and allowed just four hits and walked only one.

Woodruff has recently been starting in left field for the Chargers and North Hardin scored nine runs over the first two innings, but Bowles stayed with the young pitcher because it was errors, not poor pitching, that gave the Trojans the quick start.

Freshman Coulton Maupin came in and pitched the sixth inning for Bullitt East before the game was called by the ‘mercy’ rule.

Bullitt East gave Woodruff plenty of support as they pounded out 16 hits including three home runs.

Hoffman finished with four hits including one of the home runs while Alphin had a double and a home run. The hit parade also included a home run and a double by Whitmer who drove in five runs while McCarthy and Robbie Gibson added doubles. Gibson finished with two hits.

The baseball continued on Saturday as the team traveled to Madisonville North Hopkins High School for a pair of games. The opener had plenty of offense as the Chargers beat the host school 14-11.

Senior Pat Revel was the starter and worked the first four innings. He gave up all of the runs, but only five were earned. Bailey then came in and worked the last three innings and got the win.

Bullitt East’s rally was helped along by 15 hits including two more home runs. Hoffman had a big game with a double and a home run as he drove in five runs. Alphin also hit a home run as both he and Hoffman finished with three hits. Bowles and Revel each had a double while McCarthy, Johnson and Bowles each had two hits.

The double-digit scoring parade ended in the second game on Saturday with a 4-1 loss to Daviess County

Bullitt East had just five hits and two of those were by Whitmer.

Jones was the starting pitcher and suffered the loss despite only allowing one earned run in five innings of work. Bowles pitched the last inning.

While pleased with the overall results last week, the coach felt that his team made too many defensive errors that led to way too many unearned runs.

“Maybe I’ve been spoiled over the years,” Bowles said. “That’s uncharacteristic of us. It’s not something I would expect with the team we’re putting on the field. It’s something we’re trying to work through.”

Bowles did say over the weekend that senior lead-off hitter Bobby Harrison had left the team to concentrate on running track. His spot in left field is being filled by Woodruff.