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OKOLONA – Getting the big hits at the right time and matching that with an excellent pitching performance can net you some victories on the baseball diamond.
And, after a slow start, the North Bullitt Eagles seem to be rounding into shape at just the right time.
In a key district matchup, North Bullitt jumped on top with four runs in the first inning and that would be all sophomore Jacob Kelly would need.
In a five-inning affair, Kelly struck out 12 Southern Trojans and allowed no hits as North Bullitt ran its district record to 2-0 with a 14-0 shutout Thursday.
“Southern is a quality program who has some good players,” said Wise. “You can’t ask a whole lot more out of a pitcher.”
With the exception of a few walks, Wise said Kelly has proven that he is a quality starter and has earned the right to pitch in the big games.
Offensively, the Eagles got started quickly against Southern.
In the first inning, Tyler Mayberry walked and stole second base. With one out, Clayton Kelly beat out a slow roller. The Eagles got a break as Mayberry appeared to be caught off third base but the umpire ruled he was safe.
Instead of having two outs, Jacob Kelly walked, Mayberry would score on a wild pitch and Tyler Lloyd would walk. Cody Stinnett cleared the bases with a 3 RBI double to left field.
In the second inning, North Bullitt would plate a pair of runs.
Mayberry beat out an infield single. And after a stolen base, Clayton Kelly delivered an RBI single to left. The senior shortstop stole second and scored on a single by Jacob Kelly.
The Eagles would close out the game in the top of the fifth inning by scoring eight runs.
With one out, Lloyd walked and Stinnett singled to left. Mitchell Hutchison was hit by a pitch and Justin Stinson had an RBI single. When the left-fielder bobbled the ball, another run scored and Stinson took second.
Mayberry walked as Zach Williams came on in relief of starter Brandon Bayus. Anthony Kennedy was hit be a pitch and Clayton cleared the bases with a 3 RBI double.
Jacob Kelly would walk. Josh Exton hit into a fielder’s choice to score Clayton Kelly. Lloyd would drive in the final run with a single.
With the exception of a few walks, Jacob Kelly was in control the entire afternoon.
Of the 15 outs, 12 came via strikeout. One ball was caught in the outfield and another was chased down in foul ground by Stinson. The only other play was an attempted bunt, which catcher Chance Egnor took care of.
On Tuesday, North Bullitt hosted Evangel and won 27-0 in five innings.
It was Evangel’s first varsity game of the season.
For the Eagles, Wise had an opportunity to get a lot of players into the game.
The Eagles had 18 hits, including extra base hits by Mayberry, who had a double and a triple, and Clayton Kelly, who had a double.
Darren Harper picked up the victory, followed by Stinson, Wesley Parker and Clayton Kelly on the hill.
Evangel committed six errors and did not record a hit.
Over the weekend, the Eagles went to Elizabethtown to participate in a wood bat tournament.
The Eagles started with week with an 8-0 victory over Bethlehem.
Exton pitched three innings and Hutchison finished with four innings on the hill.
The visitors got things started with four runs in the first inning.
Mayberry singled and stole second. Kennedy’s single drove him home and Jacob Kelly followed with an RBI double. Exton and Hutchison each followed with RBI singles.
On Friday, the Elizabethtown Wooden Bat Classic presented a new challenge for the coaches – how to keep a hot team hot while suddenly swinging with wood bats.
North Bullitt won two of the three games.
In Friday’s very cool opener against LaRue County, Exton may have thrown his best game as an Eagle. The junior went the distance and allowed just three hits and struck out 14 in the 2-0 victory.
On offense, Exton got things going with a double and with two outs, Mayberry had an infield single and when he realized no one was covering second, he took off. The first baseman’s throw to the covering leftfield was errant and Mayberry was able to get up and score.
“Josh was in control the entire night,” said Wise. “Even on a cool night, he was overpowering. He was the talk of the tournament.”
On Saturday, North Bullitt lost a 3-2 contest to Campbellsville.
Harper went six innings and gave up just one earned run.
The Eagles tied the game in the fourth when Lloyd walked, went to third on an error and stole home.
In the fifth inning, North Bullitt took a 2-1 lead as Mayberry singles, stole second and advanced to third on a wild pitch. He would score on a balk.
Campbellsville scored two in the bottom of the fifth for the victory.
In the finale, North Bullitt bounced back and defeated Elizabethtown 9-6.
“That was a very big win for us,” said Wise. “We were down after the first loss but the guys picked it up.”
Hutchison went four-plus innings and was followed by Brandon Johnson and Reitz.
In the first, Clayton Kelly walked and Hutchison brought him home with a double.
In the second, Stinnett, Stinson and Mayberry all walked. After Stinnett scored on a balk, Kennedy’s single drove home two more runs.
The Eagles took a 6-2 lead in the fourth as Stinson and Clayton Kelly walked and Hutchison reached on an error. Jacob Kelly then had a two RBI single.
The lead grew to 7-2 when Stinnett was hit by a pitch, Stinson singled, Mayberry walked and Kennedy got an RBI sacrifice fly.
Jacob Kelly’s double plated Hutchison in the sixth and Mayberry scored on Clayton Kelly’s single in the seventh.
“It was a good week,” Wise said of the 5-1 effort. “We’re starting to round into shape. Everyone is swinging the bats well and our pitching has been good.”
The Eagles were to visit Shepherdsville on Tuesday for what might be the battle for the top seed in the district tournament. Bullitt Central lost previously to Moore, which North Bullitt will play on May 6.
The Eagles will also play three games on Friday and Saturday as part of the Louisville Invitational Tournament at Christian Academy of Louisville.