Eagles’ arms strong, but bats still need to improve

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By Thomas Barr

 HEBRON ESTATES - Baseball, like life, often runs in cycles. For North Bullitt Eagle head coach Brian Wise, he hopes a trip to Myrtle Beach during spring break will be the thing which changes the cycle for his squad.

The Eagles lost three of its four games last week to see its record fall to 4-5 on the season.

“We just can’t get the big hit,” Wise said following Saturday’s 3-2 loss to the Collins Titans.

“It’s baseball. It runs in cycles,” said Wise.

Wise is still not unhappy with his team, especially the pitching.

“The pitching has held us in a lot of games,” said Wise. “Our pitchers are getting ahead on the first strike and we’ve been very pleased with everyone who’s pitched.”

On Monday, North Bullitt needed eight innings to defeat a young Fern Creek team 2-1.

Evan Bickett picked up the victory in relief of Blake Hardy, who gave up only one run on the night.

Two of North Bullitt’s three hits were doubles by Cody Montgomery and Bickett.

On Tuesday, North Bullitt made the trip to Meade County and decided to once again stay for extra innings before losing 4-3.

Meade County jumped on top 2-0 in the first and wouldn’t score again until the final inning.

North Bullitt fought back in the sixth to tie the score at 6. Montgomery doubled and Hull reached on an error. Reid Padgett singled both runners home.

In the seventh, North Bullitt had the bases loaded with one out but failed to score.

In the eighth, T.J. Barr led off with an infield single and Cody Stinnett sacrificed him to second. A single by Will Parker scored Barr for the 3-2 lead. Bickett reached on an error to put runners on the corner but he was picked off first to end the inning.

Montgomery went all eight innings on the hill. In his final inning, an error got things started for Meade County. A single to left was followed by a strikeout and hit batter. 

With the bases loaded, Chris McClish hit a single. And Kaleb Lancaster’s sacrifice fly plated the winning run.

The Eagles visited Eastern, one of the top ranked programs in the state, on Friday. And despite the 10-0 loss in five innings, Wise was not disappointed.

Jared Abell again suffered from some shaky defense as the Eagles threw away five balls and made other mental errors, which concerned Wise.

“It’s not only the physical errors, we’re going to make those,” said Wise. “But it is the mental errors that seniors and sophomores who have had a lot of playing experience should be making.”

In the game, Marcel Hull doubled and Montgomery and Shewmaker both singled for the lone hits.

In the getaway game on Saturday, North Bullitt left the tying run on second when Shewmaker hit a hard grounder to first base.

Shewmaker gave up three runs in three innings on three hits. Barr went four hitless innings in relief.

Down 3-1 going into the bottom of the seventh, Clayton Kelly led off with a walk and went to second on a bad pickoff throw. With two outs, Hull lined an RBI single down the third base line. He stole second was stranded when the hot shot was gloved at first.

“We’re hitting the ball hard,” said Wise. “We’re not striking out a lot but we just can’t get that one big hit. Things normally even out over the course of the season.”

With a lot of experience on the team, Wise is confident that things will turn around after spring break.

“We’re OK,” said Wise. “We use these games as a measuring stick. We face good teams.”

The team is participating in the Cal Ripkin Experience in Myrtle Beach this week and will return home to play Beth Haven on Monday.