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Rain, prom win Charger Challenge

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Baseball

By Mike Farner

MOUNT WASHINGTON - The eighth week of the high school baseball season had more frustration than success for the Bullitt East Chargers last week as they got to play just two games.

Most of the frustration came over the weekend as the team ended up playing just one game in the Charger Challenge, an event that head coach Jeff Bowles put together to showcase four of the top baseball programs in the state.

In the end, Trinity, Harrison County and Lexington Catholic each got to take a crack at each other while Bullitt East pretty much sat on the sideline.

First, rain on Friday cancelled a game the Chargers were supposed to play against Trinity. The wet conditions then forced what was supposed to be a 10 a.m. start on Saturday back over an hour. Because Bullitt East’s prom was that night, Bowles opted to just have his team play one game, against Harrison County. Later that day, Trinity picked up wins over both Harrison County and Lexington Catholic.

To cap it off, Bullitt East lost to Harrison County 9-7 after falling behind 9-0 through the first five innings.

It was just a perfect storm of misadventures getting the event planned and played.

“I scheduled the games late last year like August or July,” Bowles pointed out. “We don’t schedule the prom until after school starts.”

All the uncertainty carried over and the team was not ready for the start of the game against Harrison County.

“Maybe we needed to start even later,” the coach joked. “I was worried about being focused because of running late and the prom.”

Harrison County scored three times in the top of the first off starting pitcher Brandon Alphin and the visitors looked like they had the game put away when they scored six more times in the fifth frame.

Bullitt East rallied in the bottom of the sixth with seven runs and had the bases loaded, but could not get any more offense.

Alphin had not pitched in over a week and it showed. This was his worst outing of the season. All nine of the runs were credited to the junior and eight of those runs were earned. He allowed seven hits, but he hit three batters and walked five.

“He couldn’t locate anything,” Bowles said. “Plus Harrison County (ranked 21st in the state) is a good team. They got off the bus swinging the bats.”

Cody Morris and Matt Bowles also pitched in the loss, allowing just one hit over the final two and two-thirds innings of the game.

Bullitt East’s offense came alive late after leaving the bases loaded in the fourth inning. The team collected eight hits including a three-run home run by Zack McCarthy early in the sixth inning uprising. McCarthy also drove home the last run when he was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded.

The Chargers got doubles from Jimmy Hoffman, Alphin and Josh Whitmer.

A day earlier, Bullitt East defeated visiting Whitefield Academy 7-5.

The game was tied after Whitefield scored three times in the fifth inning. Bullitt East then got the final two runs in the sixth.

That inning started when freshman Trevor Gonzalez walked. Jacob Woodruff ran for Gonzalez and moved up when both Tyler Downs and Bowles walked to load the bases. Hoffman then doubled home two runs.

Bullitt East had just five hits in the game and two of those were by Hoffman. Besides the double in the sixth, he also had a home run as he drove home four runs in the game. Bowles walked three times and stole two bases while scoring three of the runs.

Pat Revel was the starting pitcher and worked three innings. Chaz Jackson then worked two frames before Cody Morris came on to work the last two innings to get the win. Morris faced just six batters and struck out three.

Those two games left Bullitt East with a 20-7 record with one week remaining in the regular season.