HEBRON ESTATES - A week that started with so much promise ended in disappointment for the North Bullitt Eagles.
Hoping to get a fast start in district play, North Bullitt split a pair of games last week. Now, it is in a do-or-die situation to avoid playing a first-round district tournament game in May.
After thumping Fairdale 13-1, North Bullitt suffered one bad inning in losing 11-7 to Southern.
“It was our best game - top to bottom - of the season,” concluded head coach Brian Wise. “We knew it was a big game and we responded.”
Coming off an extra-inning loss to Bethlehem on Monday, Wise said his Eagles were very focused on the job at hand.
“Cody (Stinnett) said he wanted the ball,” Wise said of his starting pitcher. “That’s what you want to see.”
Stinnett would go six innings and not allow a walk or a hit batter. The Eagle defense was also flawless on a day when the Bulldogs made six miscues.
It looked like a case of déjà vu for North Bullitt as it loaded the bases in the first inning with no outs. However, a double play and a pop out stopped the rally.
North Bullitt would scratch across two runs in the second inning.
Travis Lloyd hit a single and Tyler Mayberry reached on a bunt single. With one out, Justin Stinson scored both runners when Fort Knox misplayed a squeeze bunt, which resulted in two runs scoring.
In the third, Clayton Kelly doubled and Stinnett had an RBI single.
The visiting Eagles continued to tack on runs with four in the fourth inning.
Stinson singled and Jordan Burden singled, a pitch hit Anthony Kennedy and Kelly cleared the bases with a double.
Stinnett then reached on an effort on the shortstop.
North Bullitt notched six runs in the sixth.
Burden singled and Kennedy was hit once again by a pitch. Kelly reached on an error and Stinnett his what started out as a fielder’s choice but wound up a base hit.
Jesse King then drove in two with an RBI single and Ben Evans reached on the centerfielder’s error. Mitchell Hutchison and Stinson ended the scoring with a pair of RBI singles.
Southern’s big inning
As well as the Eagles played on Tuesday, it was all wiped out on Thursday.
“Confidence is an issue,” said Wise. “Fear remains a motivating factor.”
On Thursday, the Trojans were held to one run entering the third inning. Before the letting could be done, the visitors scored seven runs.
In the inning, Hutchison ran into problems with an RBI double, two walks, a single and a hit batter in the sixth inning.
If we could have gotten out of that inning, Wise said everything would have been fine.
Instead, Southern had a double, two walks, two singles and a pair of errors.
Down 8-0, North Bullitt put together a little rally. King reached on an error and Lloyd hit a RBI double.
In the fifth inning, North Bullitt had two outs and no baserunners before scoring.
Kyle Hoskins singled and Tyler Mayberry walked. Stinson singled and Burden had an RBI single. With the bases loaded, Burden was safe with an RBI single. Kennedy followed with a walk and an RBI. Kelly finished it up with a bases clearing double to score three.
In the seventh North Bullitt scratched across a final run. King doubled and Mayberry singled. Stinson reached on an error to complete the scoring.
“The loss negated what we did on Tuesday,” said Wise. “We have put ourselves in a must-win situation.”
Wise said that while many of his players have varsity experience, they are still in new roles and he is looking for some of them to step up and pitch a big game or get a key hit.
Win over Fern Creek
On Friday, North Bullitt got a couple of big performances at the plate and on the mound.
Darren Harper threw a complete game for the 6-5 victory. It was his first varsity start.
“He did an excellent job,” said Wise. “This is someone that we have to consider when we decide who is going on the hill.”
Lloyd provided the big offensive night with five runs batted in.
North Bullitt scored three in the first inning. Burden walked and Kennedy singled. After Kelly singled to load the bases, Lloyd brought them all home with a triple.
In the second inning, Stinson reached on an error and Burden reached with he was safe on a fielder’s choice. Kennedy got the run home on a fielder’s choice.
Lloyd got another RBI on a groundout in the fourth as Burden reached on an error and Kennedy singled.
The winning run in the sixth came after Fern Creek tied the score at 5-5.
With two outs, Kelly doubled and Lloyd had an RBI single.
Now 8-13 on the season, North Bullitt had the district game against Bullitt Central on Tuesday and still must play Bullitt East later in the year.