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No hits? Not a problem for NB during 3-1 win

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Baseball

By Thomas Barr

 HEBRON ESTATES - You survive a lightning delay on the road to win in 12 innings.

You throw an eighth grader on the hill for his first varsity start, you get no hits but still win.

You run-rule a team that has beaten Trinity and St. Xavier this year.

You do all three of those things and it’s been a pretty darn good week.

Such is the life for head coach Brian Wise and his North Bullitt Eagles.

Going into a winner-takes-all district showdown on Monday against Bullitt Central, the Eagles have been rolling…at just the right time.

“We’re headed in the right direction at the right time of the year,” Wise said of his 16-9 squad. “I like where we’re going.”

On Tuesday, the Eagles traveled to Brandenburg. 

Thanks to a turf infield, the game was played, although there was a 45-minute delay due to lightning.

Scoring five runs in the top of the 12th, North Bullitt rode home with a 7-2 victory.

Josh Exton went the first six innings and Brandon Johnson threw the final six to pick up the victory.

Together, the senior right-handers combined for 14 strikeouts and only five walks.

In the fourth, Jacob Kelly doubled and advanced on a groundout. He scored on a passed ball.

The Eagles tied the score at 2-2 in the seventh. Keaton Reitz walked and Blake Benz’ bunt was mishandled. After Justin Stinson put down a sacrifice bunt, Logan Wyatt hit an RBI sacrifice fly.

That wold be it until the 12th.

Benz reached on an error and Stinson singled. Wyatt had an RBI double and Kelly followed with another RBI double.

Chance Egnor reached on a fielder’s choice and courtesy runner Noah Marion would later score.

Johnson and Daulton Walls were hit by pitches. Chance McKenzie had an RBI single and Reitz got an RBI the hard way by being hit by another pitch.

On Wednesday, Wise was faced with a dilemma -- his freshman and junior varsity teams were on the road and some of his varsity hurlers were battling through some arm soreness.

So you mention to eighth grader Alec Lush that he would be playing varsity. And, oh, by the way, you are making your first varsity start against Fern Creek.

No worries as the lefty threw a complete game four-hitter. With a wicked change up and curveball with movement, Wise had seen enough of Lush pitching in freshman and JV games to know he could compete.

The only problem is that his teammates got no hits on the day.

But North Bullitt won 3-1.

In the first inning with two outs, Wyatt, Kelly and Egnor drew walks to load the bases.

Exton was hit by a pitch and Walls then drew a walk.

The final run scored when Austin Trammell was hit by a pitch.

Despite the no-hitter, Wise wasn’t upset. The team had a lot of hard-hit balls; however, they were right at the Fern Creek player.

On Thursday, Wise laid it on the line for his players -- treat the DeSales game as if it was a post-season game in which the loser goes home.

Less than 24 hours after getting no hits, North Bullitt exploded for a six-run first inning en route to a 11-1 victory in five innings.

“We approached this as a win or go home game,” said Wise, whose teams have always seemed to have trouble with DeSales in the regional tournament. “I think we handled it very well. It should give us some confidence.”

Kelly rebounded for his lone shaky outing of the year with a five-inning gem. The lefty allowed just three hits and struck out six against a very explosive offensive opponent.

In the first inning, the home team opened with a bunt single by Tyler Mayberry. Even though Stinson hit into a double play, the inning was not over.

Wyatt doubled and Kelly followed with an RBI single.

Egnor reached with a single and Exton drove home two runners with a single. A Walls walk was followed by Ryan Henson’s 2-RBI single and Reitz followed with another RBI single.

The offense continued in the second inning as Stinson, Wyatt and Kelly singled to load the bases. Egnor’s single plated two runs and another scored on Exton’s fielder’s choice.

In the fourth, Exton was hit by a pitch and scored on Henson’s single.

The final run to end the game in the fifth came as Stinson, Kelly and Egnor walked. Exton’s single ended the contest.

“It was a big win,” said Wise. “I think it should give us some confidence if we meet them again.”