HALL OF FAME
Cards turn back Tigers, 4-1
April 27, 2012Bardstown High School
In a 19th District baseball race that looks about as balanced as in any recent season, it’s the little things that will make the difference.
“Every game will be competitive,” said Nelson County coach David Sparrow, whose team pushed across a pair of sixth-inning runs to extend its lead to 4-1 Tuesday on visiting Bardstown, then had to hang on for dear life to escape a major seventh-inning jam and seal the win.
The Tigers drew first blood Tuesday, stringing together an error, a single and a sacrifice grounder off the bat of Kyle Stith to take a 1-0 lead in the top of the first.
“I felt like we came out with a lot of energy to start the game,” Tiger coach Glenn Koger said. “We scored in the first inning and then did not maintain our focus, including the last inning after loading the bases.”
Nelson County answered in the bottom of the second, tying it on a Jake Jones RBI single, then taking the lead for good in the third on an RBI single by Bradley Gerage off Stith, the Bardstown ace, who managed to slither out of major bases-loaded jam with a strikeout and an infield popup to keep the score at 2-1, where it remained until the sixth. Stith got out of two other bases-loaded jams unscathed in the early innings.
“We’ve left a lot of runners on base in virtually every game we’ve played,” Sparrow said. “We had 12 tonight.”
But it was Nelson senior Timothy Dugger who kept the Bardstown bats under wraps, allowing five hits and striking out two while walking none and hitting two batters.
“My fastball was working and my curveball was breaking, finally, and I had a great defense behind me,” he said.
The Cardinals tacked on a pair of insurance runs in the bottom of the sixth, chasing Stith from the game by loading the bases with no outs, setting things up for a missed suicide squeeze that Jared Proctor was able to score on anyway, even though Anthony Wilkerson missed on the bunt try. Pinch-runner Zach Sinclair also scored on the play on a throwing error, making it 4-1.
With Dugger cruising, the lead looked safe, but the Tigers opened the top of the seventh with back-to-back singles by Devin Riffe and Shunta Muto, chasing the Cardinal hurler from the game. Reliever Alex Briney came on and walked Dillon O’Daniel to load the bases with no outs, then induced an infield popup and struck out two to end the Bardstown threat.
“Alex Briney came in and did an excellent job,” Sparrow said.
The Cardinals improved to 2-3, while the Tigers dropped to 3-6. Nelson County visits Bethlehem tonight at 7:30 p.m. in another key district game, while Bardstown visits Washington County tonight at 5:30 p.m.
It was a bitter pill for the Tigers, Koger said.
“The good thing is this was our first game in district, there are plenty of games left in the season and one loss does not change our goal of a district championship.”