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HEBRON ESTATES - It was a pitcher’s dream.
A nice, warm day with the winds blowing into the face of the batters.
The batters struggled on Saturday but the Bullitt East Chargers got a few more “freebies” at opportune times to scratch out a 3-2 victory over county rival North Bullitt.
While the teams are no longer in the same district, such games always mean a little more.
“It’s still fun,” said Charger skipper Jeff Bowles, who coached at North Bullitt. “You still want to beat them. It’s always a close game.”
In general, teams have not been busting the seams out of the baseballs this spring. Specifically, both Bullitt East and North Bullitt fall into that category.
“You can’t give up the freebies,” Bowles said of things like walks, errors or running errors. “Today, we gave up some but we got some.”
With Zac Ching getting back into shape following an injury, North Bullitt head coach Brian Wise wanted his players to be patient at the plate.
That worked as the host team got its only two runs and its only hit of the game.
Tyler Mayberry and Justin Stinson opened with walks. Logan Wyatt singled to left field to load the bases.
Ching walked Jacob Kelly for one run and Chance Egnor hit a sacrifice fly for the other.
Offensively, that was it for the Eagles.
“You think that we’re one hit away from maybe putting some real pressure on them,” said Wise. “But you have to tip your hat. Ching battled through it and Bullitt East fought back.”
In the Bullitt East dugout, Bowles and his assistants had a simple message -- don’t try to hit home runs against a stiff breeze.
Eagle starter Brandon Johnson allowed a double by Ching and a walk through the first three innings.
In the fourth, Bullitt East tied the score at 2-2.
With two outs, Chase Patton drew a walk and Brayden Blair was hit by a pitch. After a key double steal, Jacob Bowles drove a two-base hit to left-center to knot the score.
Johnson worked out of a jam in the sixth. After Ching singled to open the inning, Patton worked a one-out walk. But Johnson got Blair to ground out and Bowles to fly out.
In the top of the seventh inning, Bullitt East would again get some “freebies” to win.
Pinch-hitter Morgun Willis was hit by a Johnson pitch. Dillon Coffman’s sacrifice bunt moved Willis to second and the junior advanced to third with Garrett Wilson’s sacrifice fly.
With two outs, Zac Masden came through with a clean single to left and the 3-2 victory.
“I’m so pleased that we have guys who are stepping up,” said Bowles, whose team is now 12-4 on the year.
He pointed to Willis, whose instruction was to get on base any way possible.
And then Adrian Maddox came in and threw two innings of ball to earn the victory and sophomore Troy O’Brien came in to save the win.
“You have to have guys step up,” said Bowles.
He said Ching had not thrown a lot and was working himself back into shape. Overall, he was pleased with the outing, which was cut short by the high pitch count.
For Wise, it was a great high school game and one that will help his team down the road.
“We played well,” said Wise. “Brandon did exactly what we ask. He gave us an opportunity to win the game.”
With the weather conditions, Wise said it was miserable for the hitters. That is why a small mistake could be costly.
Eagles win three in row
After its contest against Male was halted due to rain with the score tied, North Bullitt would win three in a row last week.
On Thursday, the Eagles defeated visiting Christian Academy 4-0 behind the pitching of Darren Harper.
Hitting his spots, Harper allowed four hits in 6 1/3 innings. Johnson came in and got the next batter to hit into a double play.
In the third, Keaton Reitz and Mayberry walked and Stinson sacrificed both runners into scoring position. Wyatt followed with an RBI sacrifice fly and Kelly’s single plated the second run.
In the sixth inning, North Bullitt got two more runs. Egnor singled and Josh Exton doubled. Ryan Henson’s single scored both runners.
On Friday, the Eagles went on the road and defeated Atherton 10-0 in five innings.
Kelly pitched the first three and Chase McKenzie had the final two innings. Kelly got the victory and McKenzie struck out four batters.
Offensively, it was a seven-run first inning.
Mayberry singled and Wyatt stroked a two-run homer, his second on the season. Kelly reached on an error and Egnor singled. Daulton Walls had a 2 RBI single. After Henson reached on an error, Reitz and Mayberry singled to load the bases. Stinson’s single plated two runs.
“It was a good start,” Wise said of the seven-run, seven-hit inning.
Henson doubled and Reitz singled. Stinson had an RBI sacrifice fly and Wyatt hit an RBI single in the third.
The Eagles finished the scoring when Exton reached on an error, Walls walked and Mayberry had an RBI single.
On Saturday, North Bullitt came from behind to defeat Whitefield Academy 2-1.
Exton pitched the first three innings as he was limited to 60 pitches. Wise said the senior is getting very close to his form of a year ago.
Henson pitched the final four innings to earn his first varsity victory. He allowed three hits and struck out five while walking no one.
“He’s been effective in both his varsity games,” said Wise.
Down 1-0, North Bullitt tied the score in the fifth. With two outs, Mayberry singled and Stinson walked. Kelly had the RBI single.
In the sixth, Walls singled and went to second on a ground out. With two outs, Nick Estes, in his first varsity start, had the RBI single to right for the 2-1 win.