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Mixed results for East baseball in week one

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By Mike Farner

MOUNT WASHINGTON ee" The first week of the regular season for the 11th-ranked Bullitt East Chargers had some highlights and some lowlights, but the team posted a 2-1 record heading to Florida this week for spring break.

The season got off to a strong start on Monday as the red and gold rolled past Eastern, the third-ranked team in the state, by a 5-1 count. A day later, the Chargers scored 11 runs in the first three innings but then had to hang on to beat Sixth Region rival DeSales 15-12.

Bullitt East’s first loss then came on Thursday against St. Xavier, the state’s fourth-ranked team. The Chargers committed six errors and were never in the game as the Tigers spoiled the home opener by an 8-3 count.

“It was disappointing today,” Charger head coach Jeff Bowles said on Thursday. “We had six errors and that won’t cut it against so-so teams, much less against a team like St. Xavier.

“We’ll learn from it and come back and be better,” the coach said.

On Friday, the Chargers left after school for Florida where they will play five games in Orlando at the Disney Wide World of Sports complex. The team will then return home where they will jump into district play.

Pitching Strong

The Chargers got a strong opening pitching performance from juniors Matt Bowles and Brandon Alphin to beat Eastern 5-1. Bowles worked the first four innings and gave up the one earned run in the first inning. Alphin then worked the last three innings.

Bowles allowed six hits in his four innings and struck out four. He did not walk a batter. Alphin gave up just three hits while striking out four and walking just one.

Bullitt East finished with eight hits.

“All of the hits were off Dunaway who one hit us last year,” the Charger coach said.

Alphin helped out his own cause with a double and also had a single. Seniors Bobby Harrison and Zach McCarthy each finished with two hits.

Jeff Bowles didn’t really know what to make of Tuesday’s marathon game that ended just before dark. His team was up 11-0 after batting in the top of the third, but then could not get DeSales out. The Colts narrowed the gap to 11-8and then scored four times in the bottom of the seventh to get within 15-12.

“It was a tough day for the Chargers two oldest pitchers as seniors Justin Jones and Pat Revel both struggled. Jones was the starter and technically got the win, but it was not a strong outing. Jones gave up four earned rush as he allowed five hits and hit three batters.

Revel came on in the third inning and ran into more trouble. He hit two batters and allowed four hits and four earned runs.

Chaz Jackson, a sophomore, settled things down for two innings, but then ran into trouble in the seventh when DeSales scored four times. Sophomore Cody Morris was called on to get the final out and he did that by facing just one batter.

“They will have to get better,” the coach said of his two senior pitchers. “Pat was hurt last year and Justin warmed up as the weather warmed up. It’s one of those things where we have to work into game shape.”

Bullitt East had a lot of offense, pounding out 16 hits including six extra base hits.

McCarthy led the way with three hits including a pair of doubles as he drove in five runs. Alphin also had three hits with a triple and he drove in two runs. Matt Bowles had two hits with a double and a triple and the junior drove home two runs.

The Chargers also got two hits each from Harrison, Josh Whitmer, Jimmy Hoffman and Jackson. Harrison stole two bases while Whitmer drove in two runners. Hoffman belted a double.

Very little went right for Bullitt East on Thursday in the home opener of the 2009 season. It was also the first baseball game to be broadcast in Mount Washington by radio station WFBR.

St. Xavier scored four runs in the first three innings and then moved ahead 8-0 with a big fifth inning. Bullitt East did score three times in the bottom of the sixth, including a home run by Alphin, but it was too little, too late.

“Three earned runs and six errors,” Jeff Bowles lamented. “We’re not going to beat our freshman team playing like that.”

(For the record, Bullitt East’s freshman team did beat Pleasure Ridge Park’s freshman team on Thursday.)

Alphin was the starting pitcher and suffered the loss. He gave up a lead-off home run to start the game, but allowed just four hits in three innings. Two of the four runs were earned.

Matt Bowles worked the last four innings and while the Tigers scored four more runs, only one was earned.

“We’re not mad or upset, but disappointed,” Jeff Bowles said. “We had a lot of fans there. It just wasn’t a good game for us.”

All of the offense for the Chargers came in the sixth inning. Alphin hit a home run and then Whitmer walked in front of a double by Hoffman. After McCarthy walked on a full-count pitch, Jones singled home two runs.

“Sometimes you learn as much about yourself when things don’t go well,” Jeff Bowles said. “Matt and Brandon had good composure with six errors behind them. We’ll take something good from this.”