East baseball takes down 14th-ranked Ballard 4-3 in eight

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By Mike Farner

 MOUNT WASHINGTON - After a bad start to the final week of the regular season, the Bullitt East Chargers rebounded later in the week to beat 12th-ranked Ballard 4-3 to build momentum heading into this week’s 24th District Tournament at Southern.

The Chargers finished the regular season 21-8 and have the number one seed for this week’s district event. Bullitt East will be looking for an eighth-straight title.

The bad news came on Monday as the red and gold dropped a 1-0 decision to Whitefield Academy as they could collect just two hits. The only run of the game came in the sixth inning.

Bradley Johnson pitched well for the Chargers into the seventh inning, allowing only six hits, but that did include back-to-back doubles in the sixth to account for the only run. Cody Morris came on and pitched the seventh inning.

Bullitt East’s only two hits were singles by Hunter Wood and Morris.

On Thursday, the Chargers were able to bounce back from that loss with a strong outing against Ballard, one of the state’s top teams, winning 4-3 in eight innings. Bullitt East trailed for most of the game before scoring twice in the bottom of the seventh and then winning in the eighth.

The winning run scored with one out in the eighth. Coulten Maupin doubled to open the frame and then Tyler Minogue reached on an infield single. Chad Jackson then hit a chopper that resulted in Maupin being thrown out at the plate. Wood then ended the game with a single.

In the seventh, Bullitt East rallied when Wood reached on an error before Brett Hatfield singled. After an out, Shane Valentine walked to load the bases. Alex Richardson followed with a single that skipped past the outfielder and went to the fence, driving home two runs, but Valentine was thrown out at the plate.

Maupin was the starting pitcher and worked fie and two-thirds of an inning and gave up just four hits. Trevor Gonzalez got the win as he worked the rest of the game with only three hits.

Bullitt East had nine hits in the game including a pair of doubles by Maupin. Gonzalez also had a double.

On Friday, the Chargers were able to celebrate Senior Night in style as they ripped visiting Valley 15-0. Bullitt East head coach used 19 different players in the victory.

The red and gold only had eight hits, but that included a home run by Valentine and a triple by Zack McMillen as well as doubles by Chad Jackson, Kyle Ethridge and Gonzalez.

Lining up his post-season pitching staff, Bowles threw Morris for two innings before giving the ball to Jackson for two inning. Hatfield then worked the last inning.

“If you had told me 21-8 with our schedule this year I would have been pleased,” Bowles said. “Even the games we lost we could have won so 24 or 25 wins were possible. The seniors were right in the mix all season.”

Cougars Split Two

To end an up and down season, the Bullitt Central Cougars had an up and down final week as they beat visiting Lexington Sayre 7-5 before losing to Bardstown 11-1.

The Sayre victory came in the eighth inning after the visitors scored a run in the top of the seventh to force the extra inning and then had scored a run in the top of the eighth to take the lead.

Bullitt Central came right back with singles from Tanner Freeman and Cody Powell before sophomore Bradley Combs smashed the ball out of the park for the walk-off win.

The Cougars finished with seven hits in the game including doubles by Josh Wood and Jacob Muncy. Muncy drove in three of the runs with his hitting.

Combs not only won the game at the plate, but also picked up the win as he pitched the top of the eighth in relief. Ben Parker was the starting pitcher and worked five innings before Cody Powell was on the mound for two frames.

The news was not as good on Thursday as Bullitt Central fell behind Bardstown early on Senior Night and then never recovered. Wood got the start but a number of walks hurt. Damon Shepherd then struggled before Muncy got the last six outs.

The Cougars had only four hits, including a double by Parker.

“It is the way it has gone all year,” Bullitt Central head coach GJ Moore said of the up and down results. “When we throw strikes we’re fine. We’re going to score runs. When we get down early and have to play base-to-base, then we have trouble.”

NB Gets Late Win

It wasn’t the ideal way to enter the post-season as the North Bullitt Eagles lost four of its final five games. However, if there was a bright note, the baseball squad entered the district tournament on a high.

The Eagles rebounded from a tough week with a 15-3 win over John Hardin on Saturday.

The Eagles went on the road to pound out 16 hits to support pitcher Jared Abell.

“We swung at better pitches,” said head coach Brian Wise. “We swung at balls we could drive.”

With Abell continuing to show signs of his 2010 pre-injury form, the Eagles scored plenty of runs.

Cody Montgomery had three hits, including two triples, and Marcel Hull also had three hits. Blake Hardy cleared the bases with a double and T.J. Barr hit two doubles.

“Hitting is contagious,” said Wise. 

Earlier in the week, defense and walks hurt the Eagles.

On Senior Day, the Eagles lost 9-5 to Henry County. It was a big five-run inning that sunk North Bullitt. That inning featured four walks.

On Tuesday, North Bullitt gave up three runs in each of the first two innings and another five-run inning in the fourth.

The Eagles lost 11-6 in its home finale.

Hitting the road, North Bullitt again ran into one of the top teams in the state.

For a second time in two weeks, Central Hardin hitters feasted on Eagle pitching. The home team had 17 hits en route to a 16-2 victory.

On Friday, the Eagles visited Washington County and returned home with a 15-3 setback.

Once again, Wise said seven walks were too much to overcome. In the first inning, one Commander ball left the infield but the team still scored four runs.

The Eagles entered post-season play on Tuesday with a 7:30 p.m. game against Southern. The winner of that game would advance to Wednesday’s final. Both teams in the final will advance to the Sixth Region tournament next week.