SHEPHERDSVILLE – With sophomore Jacob Kelly continuing his mastery over district foes, North Bullitt went into the den of the Bullitt Central Cougars and came home with a 6-3 victory last Tuesday afternoon.
The victory put North Bullitt in command of the baseball district with a perfect 3-0 record. Bullitt Central is now 0-2 in the district.
North Bullitt jumped in front first when Tyler Mayberry beat out an infield hit. Anthony Kennedy was then hit by a pitch.
With two outs, Jacob Kelly helped his own cause by roping a long single to plate both runners.
“We talk to them every game about winning every inning,” said Wise, whose team is now 14-12 on the season and has scored the second-most runs in the Sixth Region, behind Bullitt East.
“We’ve played so many games on the road we have the opportunity to score first,” said Wise. “It just helps to relax the pitcher if you can score a couple of runs in the first inning.”
That appeared to be all the lefty would need on this particular day.
After throwing a five-inning no-hitter against Southern, Kelly didn’t allow a hit until the fifth inning against Bullitt Central.
In between, the Eagles would score its third run in the fourth inning.
Jacob Kelly led off with a single and courtesy runner Keaton Reitz advanced to second on a Josh Exton ground out. Cody Stinnett walked and Justin Stinson drove home Reitz with a single.
A fifth Eagle crossed the plate in the fifth inning.
With two outs, Mitchell Hutchison walked and pinch runner Chase McKenzie scored from first on Jacob Kelly’s shot against the outfield field.
Bradley Combs relieved starter Ben Parker in the sixth and gave up the final two runs.
In the seventh, Kennedy and Clayton Kelly walked and Hutchison had an RBI single. Kelly scored when Jacob Kelly reached on an error.
The Cougars made it interesting in the seventh.
Casey Goins opened by being hit by a pitch. Cody Powell followed with a double. Parker’s fielder’s choice plated Goins.
Jasen Davis, who had the first hit off Kelly, took this ball long for a two-run homer to close the gap to 6-3.
After getting a second out on a good defensive play by Clayton Kelly, Dylan Neal’s double brought out pitching coach Chris Kelly out of the dugout.
But Jacob Kelly closed the deal by getting a fly ball to right field for the final out.
“I wanted Jacob to finish out the game,” said Wise, who added there was no thought to remove the starter. “Chris just reminded him to attack the lower part of the strike zone and wanted to make sure Jacob felt all right. We wanted him to finish the game.”
In Jacob Kelly, Wise said he is seeing a different pitcher with each outing.
“He’s getting more confident with every start,” said Wise. “He knows he is going to get the ball in the big games. And he has responded.”
The victory clinched at least a tie for the first seed in the 24th District tournament. The top seed would play the winner of the game between the fourth and fifth seeds.
“One of our goals this season was to win the district title,” said Wise. “We still have an opportunity to do that.”
North Bullitt in LIT
In addition to the Bullitt Central encounter, the Eagles went 2-2 on the week.
On Monday, North Bullitt jumped out early in defeating Holy Cross 7-2.
Mayberry opened with a single and Kennedy followed with an RBI double. Clayton Kelly reached on an error, scoring Kennedy. And Jacob Kelly followed with an RBI single.
That would be all Brandon Johnson would need. Johnson combined with Keaton Reitz for the victory.
The Eagles, in a rare home game, scored three in the fourth. Lloyd singled and Mayberry walked. Kennedy followed with a 2 RBI single and Clayton Kelly had an RBI single.
In the sixth, Kennedy walked and Clayton Kelly’s single drove him home.
On Friday, North Bullitt played the first of three games in the Louisville Invitational Tournament.
Exton, coming off an illness, had an off outing, allowing three runs in four innings.
The Eagles fell 6-1 to Paul Dunbar of Lexington in one of the few outings of late that the offense struggled, according to Wise.
The lone North Bullitt run came in the final inning as Lloyd walked, Mayberry doubled, Kennedy walked and Hutchison drove in the run with a walk.
North Bullitt came back Saturday to defeat Prestonsburg 14-3.
Hutchison went the distance on the mound, allowing the only three runs in the fifth inning.
On offense, North Bullitt got things going in the second. Lloyd singled and would score on Matt Hayes’ single.
In the third, Clayton Kelly singled and scored on Hutchison’s single.
Down 3-2 in the fourth, North Bullitt took the lead for good with a five-run outburst.
Lloyd walked and Stinnett hit into a fielder’s choice. Hayes walked and Chance Egnor had an RBI single. Kennedy had a two-run double and Justin Stinson had an RBI sacrifice fly. Clayton Kelly followed with a two-run homer.
In the fifth, Stinnett doubles, Hayes singled and Kennedy’s single drove home both runners.
Another run scored in the sixth as Clayton Kelly reached on an error and scored on McKenzie’s single.
In the seventh, four Eagles crossed the plate. Engor singled and scored on Kennedy’s single. Ryan Henson had an RBI single and after Clayton Kelly was hit by a pitch, Hutchison’s single drove home the final two runs.
In the LIT finale, North Bullitt lost 11-6 to Christian Academy. With most of the regulars gone to the prom, North Bullitt still jumped on top with five runs in the first. Reitz, Henson and Egnor singled and two scored on Hayes’ single. Daulton Walls drove home two with a single and McKenzie finished with an RBI single.
The Eagles put another run on the board in the second as Reitz doubled and scored on Jacob Kelly’s groundout.
Reitz and McKenzie combined on the mound for the Eagles.
“We’ve had two productive weeks,” said Wise. “I like where we’re going.”
The Eagles are slated for three games this week with none on Friday or Saturday due to Derby festivities. Next week, the Eagles will host Moore in the final district game on Monday and then travel to Bullitt East on Tuesday for a non-district but still intracounty rivalry game.