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MOUNT WASHINGTON – It was get away day for Bullitt East on Thursday and the Chargers made the most it, beating arch-rival Bullitt Central 8-0.
A day later head coach Jeff Bowles and his team headed to Florida for their annual pilgrimage to the Wide World of Sports complex at Walt Disney World, the spring training home of the Atlanta Braves.
Before leaving, Bowles got four of his pitchers work against Bullitt Central. The coach was forced into that as the team played just one other game during the week.
“A lot of people got work and got to hit and got to play an inning or two,” Bowles said after the win, his team’s fifth of the season in eight outings. “So, today was a good day.”
While Bullitt Central could muster just three hits against the multiple Bullitt East pitchers, it was two early defensive plays by Charger catcher Zac Masden that set the tone for the game. In the first inning, the senior catcher threw out Cameron Dukes trying to steal second base and then did the same in the second inning.
Bullitt Central had a hit in each of those first two innings and four base runners total, but could not score.
“It’s a luxury to have two catchers who can start for most other teams,” Bowles pointed out of Masden and junior Brayden Blair. “Competition makes everyone better.”
Bullitt Central head coach G.J. Moore felt that Dukes had beat the throw in the first inning. That would have put runners on second and third with no outs as senior Jayme Curtis had opened the game with a double. Instead, the Cougars failed to score in that inning off Bullitt East starter Austin Norris.
“A run there would have been big,” Moore admitted later.
In the bottom of the first, Bullitt East made the situation worse for the Cougars as they scored a pair of runs. The Chargers had two hits in the inning, but were helped along by an error and a run-down that allowed a run to score without an out being made.
Bullitt East sophomore Garrett Wilson, who is just getting up to speed after joining the baseball team after the basketball season, walked to open the inning off Bullitt Central’s Kyle Hoskins. After Wilson stole second base, he went to third on Chase Patton’s single.
Bowles called for the intentional run-down and Patton drew the throw from Hoskins. Bullitt Central then threw home when Wilson broke for the plate, but the throw was late. Patton would later move to third on a wild pitch and he scored when Morgan Willis’ sharp hit to third was misplayed.
In the bottom of the second, the Chargers added another run when Jacob Moore led off with a triple and then scored on Masden’s double.
After Norris worked the first two innings, Bowles gave the pitching duties to Patton. The Chargers recorded their third out of the game at second base when Kevin McKnight was caught off first base after walking and was tagged out in a run down.
Patton worked two innings and allowed only one hit. Tate Hatield worked the fifth and sixth innings and did not give up a hit. In the seventh, Hayden Davenport got the last three outs with one walk.
After Hoskins worked the first three innings for the Cougars, Nic Caswell came in and after a fine fourth inning, ran into problems in the fifth as the Chargers erupted for four runs on four hits.
Wilson doubled to start the fourth and after a balk, he scored on Patton’s sacrifice fly. Caswell got Zac Ching on strikes for the second out, but then walked Willis. Consecutive singles by Chase Williams, Troy O’Brien and Moore plated three more runs.
Bullitt East threatened to end the game early in the sixth inning. Masden singled and pinch-hitter Jacob Bowles doubled, but Curtis came in from shortstop and allowed on one run to score, that on a sacrifice ground-out by Patton.
Bullitt East finished with 11 hits to score eight runs. Bullitt Central had just one error.
The Chargers have had some injuries early in the season, but none of them appeart to be long-term. Ching returned to play in this game and Jacob Bowles had the one appearance at the plate, although, he won’t be throwing until this week. Alex Ralph did not play on Thursday, but could play on the spring break trip.
“A little warm weather will do us good,” Bowles said.
Through the first eight games this season, the Charger pitching staff has allowed two earned runs.
“I feel pretty good where we stand,” the veteran coach pointed out.
BE No Hits
Three days before facing Bullitt Central, the Chargers were no-hit by Eastern, a game that they lost 2-0. It was just three days before that when Patton had thrown a no-hitter against Elizabethtown.
Eastern scored a run in the bottom of the third inning and another in the sixth to get the win. Chase Mitchell was the pitcher for the Eagles and in his no-hitter he struck-out six while walking three. He also hit a batter.
Bullitt East did not get a runner past second in the loss, but they did have some chances. O’Brien walked in the third inning and moved up on Kyle McKinley’s sacrifice bunt but that threat ended when O’Brien was thrown out trying to steal third. An inning later, Blair was hit by a pitch and Patton walked with one out, but the runners could not move up.
In the fifth inning, O’Brien walked again and then McKinley reached on an error, but they were left stranded once more.
Bullitt East got a strong outing from Tyler Krauth, but he didn’t have a lot to show for it. The senior pitched the first five innings and gave up just four hits with a walk. The one run was unearned.
“He threw well enough to win 80 percent of the time,” Bowles said of his starting pitcher.
Adrian Maddox worked the sixth inning and gave up three hits and one earned run.
Following the win over Elizabethtown and Patton’s no-hitter, Bowles thought his team was ready to take off, but then they didn’t play well in the loss to Eastern.
“We had played well against Elizabethtown,” the veteran coach said. “We expected more and got nothing.”
BC Gets A Win
Before facing Bullitt East, Bullitt Central started the week with a 14-4 victory over Bardstown. It was the second win of the season for the Cougars.
Sophomore Cameron Dukes was the starting pitcher and he got the win. Bullitt Central was only up 4-3 before exploding for nine runs in the fourth inning.
Moore lost track of his score book for this game but thought he remembered getting doubles from Tyler Bray, Caswell and Curtis.
A day later, the Cougars braved some really cold weather to play Meade County and they dropped that decision 3-1.
“It was really cold,” Moore recalled. “The wind chill was in the 20s. I think we were about the only game to be played.”
Bullitt Central had the bases loaded in the sixth inning with no outs and could not score a run. The Cougars also had two runners on base in another inning and hit into a double play.
Zack McCauley was the starting pitcher and suffered the loss. Meade County finished with eight hits with six of those coming off McCauley, but only one of the runs was earned.
Bullitt Central could manage just five hits. All were singles, but Bray did have a single along with two walks. Hoskins had the lone RBI.
“We had plenty of opportunities,” Moore noted. “Their shortstop made two great plays. Those two plays beat us. We just can’t catch a break.”
The Cougars are staying in Kentucky for spring break. Early this week they are playing in a tournament at Thomas Nelson High School. The final day of action there will be on Wednesday, but the game time won’t be known until after ‘pool’ play is completed on Tuesday.
The North Bullitt Eagles played a pair of games last week, splitting those contests to move to 2-3 overall heading into a spring break trip to Myrtle Beach.
North Bullitt played both games at home, defeating North Hardin 4-3 before dropping a 9-7 decision to former district rival Fairdale.
Details on those two games were not available at press time.