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Walks costing Cougars dearly as team falters on the mound

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Baseball

By Mike Farner

 SHEPHERDSVILLE - Struggles on the mound proved fatal for the Bullitt Central Cougars last week as they won just one of three games.

The culprit according to first-year head coach GJ Moore is that the Cougars are not putting the ball across the plate. That means that they are pitching from behind and then giving up too many walks.

“Our pitching is awful right now,” Moore said over the weekend. “There is no other way to put it.”

Bullitt Central did open the week with an 8-6 victory over visiting Beth Haven but then the Cougars came up well short in a 15-1 setback to Butler, the state runner-up last season. The week then ended with an 11-4 loss to South Oldham.

“We are just walking too many,” Moore pointed out. “We just have to throw strikes. The defense could be better. We had some breakdowns, but we just need to throw strikes. You can’t win with pitching like that.”

The Cougars walked five batters in the loss to Butler and then allowed ten free passes in the game against South Oldham. The maroon and gray have started eight games this spring and in seven of those games the lead-off batter has walked.

That action left Bullitt Central with a 2-4-1 record.

Against Beth Haven, the Cougars scored three times in the bottom of the first, but then gave up four runs in the top of the second. Only a rally with three runs in the second and two more in the third saved the 8-6 victory.

Bradley Combs was the starting pitcher for the Cougars and he picked up the win despite working just the first two frames. The sophomores walked three and struck out five while allowing only one hit. Combs did allow four runs, three of which were earned.

John Larison came on and pitched over for five innings. He did allow two runs, but only one was earned. On offense, Bullitt Central had just seven hits. Combs had a triple and drove home three runs. Junior Damon Shepherd collected two hits.

On Thursday, Bullitt Central was primed for the meeting with Butler, but the Cougars just had no answer for the Sixth Region favorites as the Bears rolled 15-1.

“They are as good a hitting line-up as I have seen in a long time,” Moore said.

One of those big hitters for the Bears is Zach Lucas, the son of former Bullitt Central football coach Doug Lucas.

Ben Parker got the start for the Cougars and he worked four innings, allowing eight runs with five being earned. Combs worked the fifth inning and struggled along with his defense.

Bullitt Central had just two hits in the game and both of those came from senior Tanner Freeman.

Against South Oldham on Friday, the Cougars led 2-0 after two innings and were still up 2-1 before the Dragons scored ten runs over the final three innings.

Shepherd was the starting pitcher and did well before tiring in the fifth inning. Down the stretch, Moore tried Andrew Fleener, Jasen Davis and Matt Singleton on the mound, but they could not hold the Dragons.

Bullitt Central finished with seven hits in the game including a home run by Combs in the second inning that plated two runs. Shepherd collected a pair of hits.

The Cougars are playing in the Valley Invitational this week. That event did get rained out on Monday. Bullitt Central will play a game on Thursday against Ballard Memorial at Seneca High School. That game will start at 12:30 p.m.