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LOUISVILLE - It was an evening of missed opportunities for the North Bullitt Eagles in the opening round of the Sixth Region baseball tournament on Monday.
Leaving nine runners on base, the Eagles came up on the short end of a 7-2 score against the DeSales Colts.
The loss ended the careers of nine seniors who entered the program as eighth graders in Brian Wise’s first year as head coach.
“It’s a special group,” said Wise. “It will be very hard to replace them and I hope our younger kids learned something from them.”
After pulling the upset of Pleasure Ridge Park last year in the first round, the Eagles were looking for a similar performance.
“I thought we matched up better against DeSales,” Wise said of facing the Colts, Butler or PRP in the first round. “We just couldn’t get the big hit and they did. Give them credit. That is a very good team.”
In the first inning, T.J. Barr reached on a single and advanced to second on Cody Montgomery’s groundout. But he was stranded.
In the second inning, Mitchell Hutchison singled and Anthony Kennedy was hit by a pitch. But once again, the Eagles could not score.
In the third, Barr doubled to center and Montgomery walked. Marcel Hull was hit with a pitch to load the bases. However, a strikeout ended that inning.
Montgomery was sailing along through three innings of the scoreless game.
In the fourth, DeSales came alive at the plate. Nathan Greenwell led off with a double and Ryan Blackwell hit an RBI double to right-center. Blake Dewsnap followed with an RBI single and winning pitcher Hunter Tipton doubled in the third run.
North Bullitt finally cashed in but still had a chance for more runs in the fifth. Tyler Shewmaker led off with a single and Montgomery followed with a single. Hull hit an RBI single to put runners on first and second. However, a double play ended the inning.
The visiting Eagles got to within 3-2 in the sixth. Hutchison walked and pinch-runner Josh Exton would score on Jesse King’s double. A wild pitch moved King to third. Pinch-hitter Blake Hardy lined a drive to left for a shoestring catch and a strikeout ended the inning.
The Colts busted the game open in the sixth. Tipton doubled and Clay Hardesty hit an RBI single. A wild pitch, a walk and a balk would score two more runs to make it 7-2.
In its last at-bats, Barr singled for his third hit but he was left stranded.
For the game, North Bullitt had eight hits but Wise said they could never bunch enough together.
“You do worry when you have those early opportunities and we weren’t able to capitalize,” said Wise. “I know it made my worry.”
Wise was pleased that the team rebounded over the past couple of weeks to play some of its best ball.
“We have the toughest district to get out of and this group has done it the past four years,” said Wise. “I don’t know if a group of seniors has been part of a team getting to the regional all four years.”
He was pleased that Montgomery pitched some of his best ball the final two games and he said the team pulled together over the final games.
“It’s a great group of seniors,” said Wise. “It’s a group with a lot of different personalities but they played hard and did everything we could ask as coaches.”