Early offense more than enough for BE over BC

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By Mike Farner

    SHEPHERDSVILLE - The first intra-county game on their new field will not be something Bullitt Central baseball fans will want to remember.

    There was no joy for the Cougars on Thursday as they were down 10-0 before they ever came to the plate. By the time the game ended mercifully after five innings, Bullitt East had a dominating 17-1 victory.

    Bullitt Central has not beaten Bullitt East since 2004.

    The setback is doubly painful for Bullitt Central since it is the only meeting of the regular season between the two rivals. It was also the first district game of the season for Bullitt East (BC had lost to Southern earlier in the week).

    “That’s the first game that really counted,” veteran Bullitt East head coach Jeff Bowles said later in the week. “The other games were important and part of the learning process, but this was the first district game.

    “Last year we lost the first district game 1-0 (to North Bullitt),” the coach added. “It didn’t take much to get their attention. It’s the ‘respect everybody and fear no one’ thing.”

    Bullitt East was certainly focused on Thursday. The Chargers sent 14 batters to the plate in the first inning in scoring ten times off Bullitt Central senior Travis Stepp. The contest was pretty much in the bag when Cody Morris, the Chargers’ number nine hitter, belted a grand slam home run. Brandon Alphin added a home run, a two-run shot, in his second at-bat in the first inning.

    The Chargers collected 11 hits in the game. Kyle Ethridge belted a triple and doubles were hit by Matt Bowles and Chaz Jackson. Alphin, Ethridge and Josh Whitmer each had two hits.

    As strong as Bullitt East was at the plate, Matt Bowles was just as strong on the mound. The senior had a perfect game through four innings before giving up two singles and two walks to account for the only Bullitt Central run in the fifth inning.

    The loss was part of a very long week for the Cougars. They had opened district play on Tuesday with a 16-4  loss to Southern in another game in which they gave up ten runs in the first inning.

A Winning Week for BE

    After going through some growing pains over the first two weeks of the season, Bullitt East posted a second straight winning week as they went 3-1-1.

    The tie came on Friday against Butler in a rematch of last season’s Sixth Region Championship Game. The contest started and went into the sixth inning tied at 3-3 when heavy rains halted play. The game will not be continued.

    Bowles took a different approach to this game, opting to use freshman pitcher Jacob Woodruff as his starting pitcher. He didn’t want to use either Matt Bowles or Alphin so that Butler would not have experience against his two top pitchers if they should meet again in the post-season.

    Woodruff was pitching a strong game against a Butler squad that had beaten second-ranked Pleasure Ridge Park 8-4 earlier in the week.

    “We had a freshman pitcher and a freshman catcher in there (Hunter Wood),” Jeff Bowles pointed out. “I was very pleased with the performance. You don’t want to show your whole hand, but you don’t want to get into trouble too much either. I was very pleased.”

    Bullitt East started the week with a 10-3 victory over Holy Cross behind the pitching of Jackson. The junior allowed six hits as he worked one out into the sixth inning. Ethridge came on and retired all five batters that he faced.

    The Chargers scored five runs over the first two innings and then pulled away late after the Cougars pulled within 5-3. Bullitt East finished with 12 hits including a rocket shot home run by Alphin. Both Whitmer and Jackson belted doubles. Jackson finished with three hits while Whitmer, Alphin and Ryan McClure each had two hits.

    After the tie with Butler on Friday, Bullitt East got on a chartered bus on Saturday morning and headed to Paintsville for a two-game showcase event.

    In the first game, Alphin didn’t have his best stuff, but the Chargers beat Somerset 12-9. Actually, Ethridge came in during the fifth and got the win despite giving up four runs.

    Bullitt East had plenty of offense, finishing with 15 hits. Ethridge helped himself with a home run whle Shane Valentine hit a double and a triple. Jackson also had a triple as he finished with three hits and Bowles had a double with two hits. Ethridge and McClure also finished with two hits each.

    After all the offense earlier in the week, Bullitt East came up short in a 1-0 game to Paintsville on Saturday afternoon. The only run in the game scored in the fifth inning on a sacrifice fly.

    Jackson pitched six strong innings and allowed just three hits while strikingn out five with no walks.

    Bullitt East managed just three hits including a double by Ethridge, but the Chargers did strike-out ten times.