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Cougars fall to Trojans in tournament opener

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By Mike Farner

SHEPHERDSVILLE -- It wasn't the way Bullitt Central coach G.J. Moore and his players wanted the season to end.

Despite having beaten the Southern Trojans 10-0 in the regular season, Bullitt Central's bats came alive just a little too late on Tuesday.

In the opener of the 23rd District baseball tournament, the host Cougars fell 5-4.

Bullitt Central finished the season at 10-19.

"We just had a bad approach at the plate all day," said Moore. "We had our opportunities."

Leaving nearly a dozen runners on base, including having the bases loaded in two innings, Bullitt Central was still in a position to win the game in the bottom of the seventh.

Bullitt Central jumped on top with a run in the first inning.

With one out, Nick Caswell walked and Tyler Bray was hit by a pitch. Both advanced on a wild pitch and Caswell scored on Cameron Dukes' groundout.

Dukes danced out of bases loaded situations in both the first and second innings.

In the third, he escaped a leadoff double.

The visitors would even the game in the top of the fourth.

After the first two players were retired, Andrew Emberton walked and Austin Tucker, a former Blue Lick player, doubled him home.

Bullitt Central was in a position to take the lead in the bottom of the fifth when Jayme Curtis doubled with one out. Caswell was hit by a pitch and Dukes was intentionally walked to load the bases.

A strikeout ended the inning.

Problems started for the Cougars in the sixth.

Ernesto Ramirez singled up the middle and Dustin Norris came in to pinch run.

After a sacrifice bunt by Blayne Kennon failed, Cameron Gordon singled. 

Disaster was averted temporarily when Kennon was tagged out on a wild pitch.

With two outs, David Corbett walked and Tucker had an RBI single to make it 2-1.

Kyle Hoskins entered the game in relief. On the second pitch, Emberton greeted him with a 3-run homer to deep center field for a 5-1 lead.

Bullitt Central got a run back in the sixth.

Kevin McKnight doubled down the right-field line. After two groundouts, pinch-hitter Louie Maupin drove him home with an RBI single.

Down 5-2, Bullitt Central made it very interesting in its last at-bats.

With one out, Bray walked and Dukes doubled. Michael Harris and an infield single to score a run.

McKnight followed with another RBI single to make it 5-4.

With two outs and down to the final strike, Colin Trent fought off a number of pitches before taking a walk to load the bases.

But on a 3-2 pitch, Tucker got the umpire's call for the strikeout to end the Cougars' season.

Both teams wound up with seven hits and no errors on the night.

"We just couldn't get the big hit," said Moore.

Despite falling behind late in the game, Moore said he was confident that the bats would come alive.

"I knew it was just a matter of time," said Moore. "That run in the sixth was big."

Moore said the loss was frustrating but the team will return a lot of players next season.

"We'll spend the summer getting stronger," said Moore. "I feel very good about what we've got coming back."