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NB baseball looking to bounce back

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Baseball

By Thomas Barr

 HEBRON ESTATES — They battled the state’s fifth-ranked team for 10 innings before falling 5-2.

The North Bullitt Eagles just couldn’t get the key hit as they played a near-perfect game before watching the Eastern Eagles go 8-2 in the young season.

“We hung with them,” said Eagle head coach Brian Wise. “We felt we hit as many hard balls they they did.”

North Bullitt got on the scoreboard first in the bottom of the opening inning. Cody Stinnett walked and pinch-runner Tyler Mayberry went to second on a fielder’s choice. He scored when Mitchell Hutchison ripped a double down the left-field line.

Stinnett would not allow a run until the fifth inning when John Gastinger and Kyle Schuette hit back-to-back doubles.

Eastern would take the lead in the top of the ninth inning when J.R. Cecil and Gastinger hit back-to-back doubles off reliever Matt Hayes.

Down to its last out, North Bullitt would come back to tie the score. Hutchison was hit by a pitch and Jesse King’s double scored pinch-runner Mayberry.

With Hutchison called to the mound, Eastern would plate three runs in the top of the 10th inning.

Four consecutive singles led to the victory.

On the day, Eastern had nine hits, while North Bullitt had just two.

“Cody Stinnett pitched very well,” said Wise. “At the end of the day, we want to find a way to win the game.”

Despite the setback, it was the high water mark for a week that ended with four straight losses.

On Monday, Clayton Kelly led the way in a 7-0 victory over Carroll County. Kelly hit a two-run homer in the first inning to give Hutchison all the support he would need.

Hutchison allowed two hits and struck out seven in five innings. King finished up the final two frames allowing just one hit.

On offense, North Bullitt put two tallies on the board in the second. Jordan Burden doubled and Justin Stinson singled and Anthony Kennedy had an RBI double.

In the third, Tyler Lloyd reached on walk and would score on Kennedy’s single.

On Tuesday, North Bullitt fell behind but came back for a 5-3 victory over Atherton.

The Eagles jumped on top in the first inning when Kennedy reached on a catcher’s interference call and scored on Kelly’s double.

After Atherton got three runs off King in the third, North Bullitt came back to score four in the fifth inning.

Stinnett singled and Kelly doubled. Hutchison walked and Lloyd singled home two runs. Burden was hit by a pitch and Stinson brought home the final two runs on a single.

King picked up the win with five innings and Hayes got the save.

On Wednesday, North Bullitt had an opportunity to visit St. Xavier but fell 10-2 with only three hits.

The visitors jumped out on top in the first inning. Kennedy and Kelly walked. Both scored when Hutchison hit a long triple.

Sophomore Josh Exton got a taste of one of the state’s top teams, allowing eight runs in three-plus innings. Hayes, another sophomore, gave up the final three Tiger runs.

The week concluded against a team that has North Bullitt’s number — Kentucky Country Day. The private school defeated the Eagles twice last year by identical 4-3 scores.

On Saturday, the visitors won two one-run games.

In the opener, freshman lefty Jacob Kelly got his first varsity start and showed a bit of nervousness. He went four innings and gave up five walks but also struck out six. 

KCD got up 3-0 but North Bullitt got one back in the third. Lloyd walked with the bases loaded.

In the fourth, North Bullitt took the lead. Burden singled and Kennedy was hit by a pitch. Kelly and Hutchison hit consecutive singles for the 4-3 lead.

A walk and a single would allow KCD to tie the score in the fifth. In the seventh, Exton walked the leadoff batter, who would steal a base and score on an error.

The Eagle hurlers only allowed six hits; however, they gave up nine walks. Of the five runs, four scored after leading off with a walk.

In the second game, King was locked into a pitcher’s duel until two were out in the seventh inning.

Will Smith drilled a solo home run for a 3-2 victory.

The Eagle runs came in the third inning.

“Offensively, we’ve got to get better,” Wise said after the first two weeks of the regular season. “Our pitching has been very good and our defense has been good.”

While Kennedy and Kelly are hitting near the .500 mark, Wise is looking for some other players to get hot.

“We’re frustrated but we’re where we thought we’d be at this point,” Wise said of his team.

After playing three games this week, the Eagles will head back to Myrtle Beach for the Cal Ripkin Experience.