East’s Maupin shuts down Central’s offense

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BE opens district with 4-1 win

By Mike Farner

 SHEPHERDSVILLE - Who says that you have to hit the ball to win high school baseball games?

The Bullitt East Chargers won four straight games last week with almost no hitting. The red and gold pushed their winning streak to eight games during a week in which they never scored more than four runs. In three of the four games they didn’t have more than five hits. In fact, they won one game with only two hits.

“I was telling one of my sons that it reminds me of 2004 when we won a regional title with only 11 hits (in three games),” Bullitt East head coach Jeff Bowles said on Monday. “There are a whole lot of other teams in worse shape than us. I’ll take the type pitching we’ve had the rest of the season.”

The most important win of the week came on Tuesday when the Chargers traveled to Shepherdsville and pulled out a 4-1 victory over 24th District rival Bullitt Central. The two teams combined for just seven hits as pitchers Coulten Maupin and Brad Combs had their best stuff.

The win went to Maupin as he allowed just three hits. Two of those hits came in the bottom of the seventh inning when Bullitt Central scored its lone run.

“He really wasn’t in any trouble,” Bowles said of his starter in the seventh inning. “He only had thrown 57 pitches going into the seventh inning. He was in as much control as you can be at 4-0 going into the seventh.”

Maupin finished with just the one earned run as he struck out four and walked two.

Bullitt East had only four hits off Combs, but the Chargers scored single runs in four different innings as the Cougars struggled to make some key plays. Bullitt Central was scored with three errors.

“It would have been closer if we played some defense,” Bullitt Central head coach GJ Moore said. “We gave them a lot of what they had. Combs was on pretty good. We hit a lot of balls and they made some really good plays.”

In the first inning, Bullitt East’s Zac Ching singled and moved around on a balk and a steal of third. Alex Richardson then hit a fly ball to short right field and Ching scored on a good slide at the plate.

In the next frame, Maupin helped his own cause when he singled home Jacob Woodruff with the second run. Woodruff had reached on a single and then stole second base to set up Maupin’s RBI.

Bullitt East made it 3-0 in the fourth when Josh Stearns singled and then went all the way to third when the ball got free in right field. Woodruff’s short fly ball was caught, but when the ball was bobbled going from the glove to the throw, Stearns dashed home with the run.

The Chargers added an insurance run in the seventh without a hit. Tyler Minogue was hit by a pitch and then stole second and third. Minogue darted home on a passed ball.

Bullitt Central avoided the shut out in the bottom of the seventh inning When Tyler Bray and Tanner Freeman hit doubles that accounted for the final score.

“We were competitive,” Moore said of something that Bullitt Central hasn’t always been in recent years with their county rivals. “Maupin was just a little better. Our defense was just better for them.”

This was the first district game for both teams.

“That’s what I told the kids after the game, that we’re 1-0 in the district and that is all that matters,” Bowles said. “They know we need to play better to win district games. Our wins and losses look good, but I don’t think anyone is pleased with our performance to this point other than the pitching.” 

BE Wins Three More

The Chargers added another win on Wednesday as they got past DeSales 3-2. A few days later, the Colts would beat the state’s top-ranked team, Male.

Bullitt East had a 2-0 lead through the top of the sixth inning before DeSales scored twice in the bottom of that frame. The Chargers then pushed across a run in the top of the inning to secure the victory.

The winning run came when Hunter Wood doubled over the leftfielder’s head with one out. After the second out, Michael Faul was hit by a pitch. Stearns then hit a chopper behind second base and when the ball was bobbled, Wood rushed home with the run.

Bullitt East collected eight hits in the game, the most they would have all week. Half of the hits went for extra bases as Wood had both a triple and the double while both Richardson and Stearns tripled in the win.

On the mound, Ching worked six innings and got the win. The sophomore allowed six hits and both of the runs were earned. Kyle Ethridge came in and got the save with one inning of work including a strikeout of the clean-up hitter with two runners on base.

Over the weekend, Bullitt East made two trips to Owensboro. On Friday, they traveled to play a game against Owensboro Catholic, but that game was called in the third inning because of rain.

The Chargers returned to Owensboro on Saturday and played two games at Owensboro High School.

In the first game, the red and gold slipped past Daviess County 3-2. The Chargers scored three times in the fourth inning and then hung on for the win.

Stearns was the winning pitcher as he worked five innings. He gave up just three hits and only one of the two runs was earned. Bradley Johnson came in and picked up the save as he allowed just one hit in two innings.

Bullitt East collected only five hits in the game and all were singles. The biggest hit was a single by Maupin that drove home two of the runs.

In the next game, the Chargers collected only two hits, but managed to beat Owensboro 2-1. In fact, the red and gold did not have a hit until the seventh inning when they scored both runs.

With one out in the last inning, Chase Patton reached on an error and then stole second base. Ethridge followed with a single that tied the game. After Maupin reached on an error, Bullitt East took the lead on Minogue’s double.

Woodruff was the starting pitcher for the Chargers and he worked five strong innings. The junior allowed only three hits and the one earned run while striking out seven. Ethridge picked up the win as she worked the final two innings, get each of the six outs with a strikeout.

Bullitt East had a key game last night with Southern that could go a long way in deciding the top seed for the 24th District Tournament later this season. The Chargers will then play three games as part of the Louisville Invitational Tournament starting on Thursday. The red and gold will play Jeffersontown on Thursday, Warren East on Friday and then Ryle on Saturday with all games at home. The other three teams in the ‘pool’ will also play games at Bullitt East on either Friday or Saturday.