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UPDATE: Elizabethtown is next East foe

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By Mike Farner

Section 3 Semi-State Baseball Tournament

At LaRue County High School

GAME 1 (June 1): Elizabethtown 6, BULLITT EAST 1.

Check Wednesdsay's paper and www.pioneernews.net for the full story.

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Elizabethtown is next foe starting Monday

MOUNT WASHINGTON - The Bullitt East Chargers will face a familiar foe this week in the Section 3 Semi-State Baseball Tournament at LaRue County High School.

Elizabethtown, the Fifth Region champions after beating Central Hardin 2-0 last Wednesday, has battled Bullitt East each of the past two seasons. The most recent meeting was on April 24 in the Louisville Invitational Tournament, a game the Panthers won 3-2.

A year ago, the two teams played an 11-inning game in Hardin County that Bullitt East won 5-4.

The two teams were supposed to play on the final Monday of the regular season but Elizabethtown had to back-out because they still had to play a game within their district for post-season seeding.

Coach Don Pitts’ Elizabethtown team has a 28-10 record and has one of the best players in the area in senior catcher Michael Thomas. He was the quarterback on the Panther’s football team in the fall.

The top pitchers for Elizabethtown are seniors Erin Pennington, Chase Greenwell and Zach Riney.

Pennington started the first game for the Panthers in the Fifth Region Tournament and could not get out of the first inning of a game against LaRue County that Elizabethtown eventually won 12-5. He was back on the mound the next day and pitched a no-hitter as his team beat Taylor County 10-0 in five innings.

This will be the second trip to sectional play in the past three seasons for Elizabethtown.

This will be Bullitt East’s first trip to the sectional tournament since 2004. That year the Chargers lost a pair of games to North Hardin.

On Sunday, Bullitt East head coach Jeff Bowles said that junior Brandon Alphin would pitch for the Chargers in the opener on Monday. He allowed just two hits on Wednesday in Bullitt East’s 6-1 win over DeSales in the semi-finals of the Sixth Region Tournament.

Bullitt East might have a slight pitching problem because Matt Bowles worked nine innings on Thursday in the regional final. Pitchers can only throw 15 innings in one week. The junior could pitch on Wednesday for just six innings or the Chargers could use senior Justin Jones on Wednesday and save Bowles for a possible game on Thursday where he could pitch up to nine innings.

Elizabethtown did not see any of Bullitt East’s top three pitchers in the regular-season meeting. The Panthers scored three times in the bottom of the seventh inning for that victory.

“I feel good about facing them,” Bowles said of seeing a familiar foe. “They are really good and have a deep pitching staff. It should be a lot of fun.”

Bullitt East scrimmaged at LaRue County in March so they know the surroundings.

“We scrimmaged there hoping that maybe we would be in this situation,” Bowles noted. “It worked out well.

“It’s a nice field,” the coach added. “It’s not huge like St. X or U of L. It’s not a bandbox so you have to hit it pretty good to get it out.”

Sectional games are set for Monday, Wednesday and Thursday (if necessary). Each of those games will be played at LaRue County High School starting at 7 p.m.

Originally, the state wanted all sectionals played on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, but both teams agreed to a Thursday game because Elizabethtown will hold graduation exercises on Friday. In fact, the tournament needs to be completed by Thursday because Bullitt East will have graduation on Saturday. 

Tickets will be $7 for each game. There will be limited seating so fans might want to pack lawn chairs for the game.