Chargers make it look easy completing district sweep

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By Mike Farner

    MOUNT WASHINGTON - The Bullitt East Chargers seem to be getting hot at the right time of the year and that is bad news for the other teams in the 24th District.

    After already beating both North Bullitt and Bullitt Central by double-digit margins, the red and gold were expected to get a game last week from Southern in the game that would decide the number one seed for the post-season tournament the week of May 24 at Bullitt Central.

    Wrong. Scoring three times in the bottom of the first inning and then getting a two-run home run from senior Brandon Alphin in the second, the Chargers ripped the visiting Trojans 13-0.

    Two days later Bullitt East did the same to Fairdale, winning 12-0 to wrap up a 4-0 mark in district play. All four of the wins came by the ‘mercy’ rule in games stopped after five innings.

    Against Southern, the Chargers batted only four times, but easily dismantled Trojan starter Reggie Young, the best pitcher in the district not playing for Bullitt East. The red and gold chased Young after three frames with a 7-0 lead.

    “It was a surprise to us because we prepared for a battle,” Bullitt East head coach Jeff Bowles said over the weekend. “We were very pleased.”

    The first four Bullitt East batters on Tuesday went eight for 11 on a day when the Chargers collected 13 hits. Southern never did get Alphin out as the University of Louisville signee had a home run and two doubles as well as walking in the first inning.

    Lead-off hitter Matt Bowles had two singles and walk in four plate appearances and number two hitter Shane Valentine also had two hits and was hit by a pitch in four at-bats.

    The Bullitt East offense got two hits from Ryan McClure who scored twice and number nine hitter Tyler Minogue reached base three times and scored twice.

    That offense made the job easy for starting pitcher Matt Bowles as he allowed just one hit, a single by number nine-hitter Kody Masterson in the third inning. Bowles also walked two batters. None of those base runners reached second base.

    Two days later Bullitt East was back in district action in a make-up game from the previous week against Fairdale. It was much the same story except the Chargers did not score in the first inning. Instead, the crossed the plate four times in the top of the second to take control and then coasted to another win.

    Kyle Ethridge got the start on the mound as he allowed just one hit with no walks and seven strike-outs. The junior faced the minimum of 15 batters as the Chargers turned a double play to eliminate the one base runner in the fifth inning.

    Bullitt East finished with ten hits including doubles from Bowles, Alphin, Chaz Jackson and Minogue. Jackson had three hits in the game while Bowles and Alphin each had two.

    The week started for the Chargers with a trip to Frankfort to take on Franklin County. It wasn’t a strong offensive showing for the red and gold as they struck-out 15 times, but they had just enough to win 4-3.

    Bowles’ team got two hits each from Jackson and Valentine with Jackson having the only extra base hit, a double.

    Jackson got the start and worked the first four innings to get the win. He allowed eight hits and the three runs were earned. Jacob Woodruff then worked until there were two outs in the seventh inning, but he left with the bases loaded. Ethridge came in and got the final out on a fly ball.

    Franklin County left 15 runners on base in the lost.

    Against Oldham County on Friday, the pitching struggled in heavy wins, giving up eight walks. Still, the Chargers had enough offense to pull out a 10-8 victory in a game they once led 6-0.

    Bullitt East had only six hits in the game, but benefited from seven walks including four to clean-up hitter Josh Whitmer. Bowles had two of the hits.

    Woodruff was the winning pitcher as he worked into the fifth inning. Bradley Johnson and then Jackson also took the mound.

    If nothing else last week, Bowles came to one conclusion as the head coach. Mainly that he will never schedule another varsity game on the day of the Bullitt East prom.

    For the second year in a row, the Chargers played poorly on the big social day. This year the team lost to Jeffersontown 10-9 after scoring four times in the top of the seventh to take a 9-7 lead.

    Jackson was the starting pitcher and then gave way to Cody Morris who pitched two scoreless innings as his team rallied to take the lead. Bullitt East made an error to let the first runner reach, but then Morris got an out. At that point, Bowles put the ball into the hands of his son, Matt, to end the game. In his first relief effort of the spring, he was able to get just one out before Jeffersontown rallied for the win.

    It was the first loss of the spring for Bowles.

    Bullitt East had three home runs in the game including two from Valentine. Bowles belted a three-run home run in the top of the seventh to momentarily rally the Chargers to the lead. The ten hits also included doubles by Valentine and Mingoue.

    Bullitt East ended the week with a 17-11-1 mark.