MOUNT WASHINGTON – What could have been one of those ‘trap’ games that all coaches fear, turned out to be nothing of the sort on Monday as the Bullitt East Chargers opened play in the 24th District Baseball Tournament with a 9-0 win over Whitefield Academy.
It was just two years ago that Whitefield had beaten Bullitt East in a regular season game and they had the same pitcher on the mound Monday. During the regular season, Whitefield had beaten state power Pleasure Ridge Park 4-3, but they struggled in other games and only had an 11-17 record this season and the fourth seed for the district tourney.
None of that seemed to matter to Bullitt East senior pitcher Jonathon Recktenwald as he got out of a small jam in the first inning and then shut down the Wildcats with ten strike-outs while allowing only four hits. Only two Whitefield Academy runners reached third base and another was stranded at second.
“He pitched well,” Bullitt East head coach Jeff Bowles said on Monday night. “He was around the plate and he was changing speeds. He was pretty dominate.”
Recktenwald had missed a couple of weeks in the middle of the season with an injury, but Bowles had no plans to take him out late in the game.
“If I had gone out there to take him out there would have been a fight between him and me,” the veteran coach joked. “It’s the post-season. He is honed in and ready to be our best pitcher.”
After the game, Spalding University made an offer for Recktenwald to pitch for them next season.
Whitefield Academy got a runner to third base with one out in the first inning, but Recktenwald got the number three hitter on strikes and then got the clean-up hitter to fly out. In the second inning, there was a double, but that runner was left at second. The Wildcats also got a runner to third in the sixth inning but could get nothing else.
Bullitt East scored a run in the bottom of the first and then broke the game open with three runs in the third, one in the fourth and then scored twice in both the fifth and sixth frames.
The Chargers finished with 14 hits in the win with both Chris Ethridge and Jacob Woodruff collecting three hits. Ethridge had a home run to lead off the fifth inning and he also had a pair of doubles as he drove home four runs. Woodruff went three-for-four with a triple and scored three times. Michael Faul added two hits and drove in two runners.
Bowles was pleased that his team took care of business in the opening round game.
“Anybody that knocks off PRP in the regular season you don’t take lightly,” the coach said. “We had a good batting practice and good preparation. Nobody was taking anybody for granted.”
With the win, Bullitt East advances to the championship game that is scheduled for Wednesday at 6 p.m. at Bullitt East. The Chargers will take on the winner of Tuesday’s game between Fern Creek and Jeffersontown.