BRUINS AND TROJANS PLAY TWO!
BRUINS AND TROJANS PLAY TWO!
One of the wonders of playing sports during the month of March and April is how quickly teams must adjust during the rainy season. In the Majors, too many rain outs can cause a team in contention plenty of stress with trying to make up those games in doubleheaders. In the high school universe several Districts have chose to play district opponents in scheduled back to back to back games. In the 17th District, that really hadn’t happened yet, but there were a few such encounters such as last weeks back to back matchup involving Central Hardin and rival North Hardin. The Trojans played the Bruins at Central Hardin on Wednesday (a makeup game) and then again at North Hardin on Thursday afternoon. The result were two games with identical scores, but different victors.
The Trojans took game one on Wednesday afternoon behind a great pitching performance by senior right hander Justin Manley, who overcame a slow start allowing three runs in the first two innings, but eventually settled down and shut the Bruins out the rest of the way for his first victory over them after two other failed tries last season. It was North Hardin’s first win over the Bruins since 2014 and Central Hardin’s first loss after a 9-0 start.
Head coach Ace Adcock finally got some run support against Central Hardin putting up a single run in the second and a big four spot in the third off of Bruin sophomore starter Cooper Jones. Jones put to batters on after hitting Eric Moore and Trenton Thomas with pitches and then Kyle Collin singled scoring Moore on an error. Andrew Henderson laid down a bunt to load the bases and then Manie Wimberly and James Bartley each knocked in a run. Henderson put the fourth Trojan run on the board after taking advantage of an errant pickoff attempt.
Adcock felt like the Trojans played with less pressure after falling behind early, while Bruin head coach Todd Thompson felt as though his team let the game get away after going ahead with mistakes at the plate, hitting into two double plays and having a base runner thrown out at the plate for the final out of the game. The 6-3 win wasn’t very pretty, but it set up one of the biggest games for the Trojans in several seasons as they would face the Bruins at North Hardin with a chance to sweep the regular season series in a scheduled Game Two and gain a leg up in the possible seeding by taking the second match which usually decides a tie between the two for the District Tournament.
Thompson threw senior Brendan Grider at the Trojans Thursday and even though he was trouble in several innings, pitched well enough to control the North Hardin batters allowing just four hits and overcame six errors to pull out a complete game victory. After a scoreless two innings, Central Hardin got things started against Trojan junior pitcher Kyle Collin when Austin Heiderman singled and stole second followed by a towering shot by Jack Bibb to right center to make it 2-0 Bruins. After the Trojans got a run back after Collin reached on an error and eventually scored on a single by Henderson to make it 2-1, the game bogged down into a pitchers duel until the Bruins blew it wide open with four runs in the top of the sixth.
After Dillion Bland reached on an error and stole second, Ethan Bryant doubled to knock in Bland. After a strikeout, Bryant moved to third on a wild pitch and scored on Heiderman’s single. Collin was then hit by a line drive by Skylar Lucas to score Heiderman and then Bibb got another RBI with a single to make it 6-1. Collin, like Grider struggled at times with runners on base in almost every inning before going to third after being hit. Collin probably knew how Cooper Jones felt the previous day when the Trojans left several runners on base and had two double plays kill those hopes along with leaving the bases loaded once. Still, the game was far from over as Bruin errors kept the Trojans in the game.
After getting a run in the sixth and then another in the seventh to cut the lead to 6-3, North Hardin had the bases loaded until a strikeout killed the threat.
Afterwards, the Adcock had to have felt much like Thompson the previous day as his team had chances, but were unable to cash in. the Bruins are currently 10-1 after that win and still must face Elizabethtown and John Hardin again along with back to back games with Fort Knox. North Hardin is 8-5 with two games remaining with the Panthers and a return match with both John Hardin and the Eagles. Still, both teams had to feel good about coming away with a win and knowing that there is still lots of baseball left in what looks to be a crazy and fun season so far.