HEBRON ESTATES – In a week with mixed results, North Bullitt baseball skipper Brian Wise confirmed one thing – if your pitchers don’t walk batters and if your fielders play good defense, good things can happen.
The Eagles finished the past week of play by splitting its six games. This week, there are two key district games on tap.
On Monday, the Eagles broke a 1-1 tie and defeated Nelson County 9-5.
Jacob Kelly struck out 11 Cardinals in five innings, allowing just one earned run.
Tyler Lloyd walked and later scored on Matt Hayes’ sacrifice fly to jump on top 1-0 in the second inning.
The big inning came in the third as North Bullitt scored six times.
Anthony Kennedy and Justin Stinson were hit by pitches and Clayton Kelly walked. Jacob Kelly singled home a run and Lloyd followed with a 2 RBI single. Cody Stinnett’s single drove home another run and Tyler Mayberry doubled home two more runs.
On Tuesday, Meade County came to play North Bullitt in a rare home game. Down 2-0 in the fifth, the Eagles tied the score.
Josh Exton, who was the starting pitcher, singled and was sacrificed to second by Stinnett. With two outs, Mayberry reached on an error and Kennedy drove the right-fielder home as he also reached on an error.
Meade County would score the final three runs in the sixth. A pair of singles and a walk loaded the bases with two outs.
However, a slow roller to first got through and a line drive was misplayed at second.
For the game, Meade County had four hits but capitalized on five North Bullitt errors.
Exton went 5 2/3 innings and struck out 10. Only one of the runs were earned.
Wednesday’s 10-8 victory over Seneca was a bizarre one.
Starter Brandon Johnson, coming off a complete game win in South Carolina, could not find the strike zone. The junior faced nine Seneca batters and hit four of them. He would give up seven runs.
But Darren Harper would come in and pitch his best game of the season in allowing just two singles in six-plus innings of winning work.
North Bullitt got two runs in the first on Mayberry’s single and Kennedy’s RBI triple. The senior centerfielder would score on a wild pitch.
In the third, North Bullitt started its comeback with two runs as Lloyd singles and Stinnett and Chance Egnor walked. Harper had an RBI single and Mayberry reached on an error.
The Eagles would score four times in the fifth inning. Egnor, Harper and Mayberry all reached with walks. After a fielder’s choice at the plate, Clayton Kelly drew an RBI walk. And Jacob Kelly drove home two with a single.
On Friday, Washington County came to town and left with a 9-4 victory.
The visitors scored six times in the first inning thanks to four infield errors and three walks.
Mayberry settled down after the first inning and shut down the guest on one hit until the top of the seventh when a two-out double, a flare single and a home run put the game out of reach.
North Bullitt got a run in the first on Kennedy’s walk, Clayton Kelly was hit by a pitch and Jacob Kelly singled. Stinnett drew an RBI walk.
In the second, Exton doubles and Egnor’s sacrifice fly sent him to third. He scored on Mayberry’s ground out.
The final two runs came in the fifth. Mayberry and Kennedy walked and Clayton Kelly was hit by a pitch to load the bases with no outs. Jacob Kelly and Lloyd both hit RBI groundouts.
On Saturday, North Bullitt defeated Thomas Nelson High 11-0.
Johnson returned to the hill and threw one-hit ball with two walks.
Kennedy walked and scored on Clayton Kelly’s double in the third inning.
Lloyd would single and Clayton Kelly hit an RBI double.
In the fourth, Lloyd singled and Stinson had an RBI double. Johnson followed with an RBI single.
North Bullitt got another run in the fifth was Kennedy singled and scored on Jacob Kelly’s fielders choice.
In the sixth inning, the Eagles blew it open with seven runs.
Egnor walked and Mayberry reached on an error. Kennedy hit an RBI single and Clayton Kelly also singled. Jacob Kelly had an RBI fielder’s choice and Lloyd and Exton followed with walks.
Stinson had a 2 RBI single and Egnor reached on an error. Johnson finished with an RBI single.
The nightcap on Saturday saw North Bullitt fall 5-0 to the 10th-ranked team in Indiana, Jeffersonville.
The Eagles would not get a hit on the day against a lefty who has signed with Xavier University.
“We had some great at-bats,” said Wise. “That was a very, very good team.”
Jacob Kelly was back on the mound and threw five innings. He allowed three earned runs and struck out seven.
“If we can limit our mistakes and eliminate some walks, I think the offense is starting to come around,” said Wise, whose team is now 6-9 on the season.
Wise said he didn’t foresee the defense being a problem but it has been an area in which too many errors have occurred.
And the pitchers, while having a high strikeout number, are also allowing too many free passes.
“I think we are getting there,” said Wise. “And we are getting production from more players.”
This week is important for the Eagles. On Tuesday they hosted Evangel and on Thursday will venture to Southern for key district contests.