Panthers take a bite out of Chargers’ momentum

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 MOUNT WASHINGTON – For the first time this season, the Bullitt East Chargers had a bumpy week on the baseball diamond as they dropped two of three games.

It was the first time this season that the Chargers have lost multiple games. The two losses dropped the red and gold to 24-3 overall.

The big game of the week came on Wednesday as the Chargers traveled to Pleasure Ridge Park to take on the Panthers. It was the first meeting between the two squads since PRP beat Bullitt East 3-0 in last season’s final of the Sixth Region Tournament.

Traditionally, the two powerhouse programs haven’t been playing in the regular-season, but the dates worked out this year. PRP is scheduled to play in Mount Washington next season.

PRP is the state’s second-ranked team while Bullitt East entered the game ranked 12th.

Bullitt East had an early 2-1 lead before the wheels feel off in the bottom of the fourth inning with the Panthers scored six times. That led to an 8-4 win for PRP.

Still, Bullitt East scored a run in the top of the seventh and had bases loaded with the tying run at the plate before the game ended.

With top pitcher Jonathon Recktenwald out for two weeks with an injury, the Chargers sent senior Derek Jones to the mound. It was a rare start for the reliever and for three innings he kept Bullitt East close.

That all changed in the fourth when Jones started having trouble finding the plate. In addition, the Bullitt East defense made a key error behind him that led to the floodgates opening for six PRP runs.

Jones got just one out in the fourth inning as he ended up allowing five runs on just one hit. Two of the runs were earned as he walked five.

Tyler Krauth came on in relief and was greeted by a two-run home run by Hunter Johnson. Krauth did work the final two and two-thirds innings with thee earned runs.

Bullitt East had two more hits than Pleasure Ridge Park, nine to seven. Austin Money had three of the hits while Zac Ching had the only extra base hit, a double. Both Hunter Wood and Michael Faul had two hits.

It was a disappointing loss for the Chargers, but it should prepare them for another meeting with PRP if the teams meet in the upcoming regional tournament.

“It wasn’t reflective of how we played this season,” Bullitt East head coach Jeff Bowles said. “I told the kids that. We should be able to beat that team. The kids realize that. We have to work to play them again. I really want another opportunity.”

On Thursday, Bullitt East snapped back with a strong effort to beat Holy Cross 11-0. The Chargers scored in each of the five innings of this game including four runs in the second frame.

On the mound, Chris Ethridge got the complete game victory. In fact, Holy Cross did not get a hit until a single with two outs in the bottom of the fifth inning. Ethridge finished with eight strikeouts and walked just one batter.

Bullitt East collected ten hits in the victory including doubles from Ching and Alex Richardson. Both Wood and sophomore Brayden Blair had two hits. Seven different players for the Chargers drove in at least one run.

On Friday, in a traditional meeting with Manual on Kentucky Oaks day, Bullitt East had troubles from the start as they were bumped off by Manual 11-5.

The only two stats that Bowles was talking about after the game were ten walks and five errors by his team.

“We could play the Pioneer News All-Star team and not win that game with ten walks and five errors,” the coach said.

Chase Patton has been a strong pitcher for Bullitt East this season, but he didn’t have it for this game.

“In the third we made an error behind him and then his control went away,” Bowles explained. “Then he hit a batter. Then he walked four in a row and they score three runs with two outs.”

Senior Jacob Woodruff came on in the fifth inning and couldn’t do any better. Woodruff faced just five batters and got just one out. He walked three of those five batters.

Alex Ralph got the last five outs while walking just one.

Bullitt East did have 10 hits in the loss. Ching had three hits including a double while Wood had a pair of doubles. Ralph also added a pair of hits.  

Bullitt East had a game Monday night rained out with Male and were scheduled to play North Bullitt on Tuesday. That will lead into a big weekend of games as the Chargers will play St. Xavier on Friday at 5 p.m. before facing Trinity at 10 a.m. on Saturday and Butler on Saturday at 5:30 p.m. Those games will be part of the Valu Market Charger Challenge which will be played at Bullitt East.



The Bullitt East Chargers will host one of the state’s top four-team round-robin events this weekend as the Valu Market Charger Challenge will be played on Friday and Saturday in Mount Washington.

Bullitt East head coach Jeff Bowles must be one incredible salesman as he got both Trinity and St. Xavier to play in the same event outside of Louisville. The two huge rivals will meet each other at 12:30 p.m. on Saturday.

Action will start on Friday with two games at 5 and 7:30 p.m. The action will then resume on Saturday at 10 a.m. with four games on the slate.


Friday, May 10

St. Xavier vs. Bullitt East. 5 p.m.

Butler vs. Trinity. 7:30 p.m.


Saturday, May 11

Trinity vs. Bullitt East. 10 a.m.

Trinity vs. St. Xavier. 12:30 p.m.

St. Xavier vs. Butler. 3 p.m.

Butler vs. Bullitt East. 5:30 p.m.