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In their first game of the season, the LaRue County Hawks varsity baseball team defeated the Caverna Colonels 12-1 in five innings at Horse Cave March 22.
“It was a good win to start the year,” Coach Chris Price said. “We are just trying to get better. We made a lot of mistakes tonight but they were mistakes that you make when you don’t have a lot of experience. None of these guys have much varsity experience. We just want to see progress.”
Price said the defense was “fair but needs to improve.”
The Hawks scored nine runs in the first three innings. Sophomore center fielder Kyle Sheeran led the way singling twice and scoring three runs. Slade Owens and Jesse Johnson both singled twice with an RBI each. Kyle Meredith struck out two batters allowing only three hits and one walk in three innings.
On March 23, in their first home game, the Hawks bested the Bardstown Tigers 14-4 in five innings. The Hawks used a combination of good pitching and timely hitting to earn the victory.
“We made a lot of mistakes especially after we had a nice lead which is a sign of our inexperience,” said Price. “Our defense was not solid tonight and for us to be a good baseball team it has to be solid. Our pitching was adequate but we need to keep improving. We threw plenty of strikes. We made some mistakes on the bases and we did not show good discipline at the plate. We did get the bunt down late in the game and we did some good things on the bases.”
The Hawks scored 14 runs on 10 hits while the Tigers managed four runs on five hits. The Tigers committed nine errors in five innings.
The Hawks were led by senior shortstop Lucas Chaudoin who had a double and two singles; Meredith had two singles and a walk; and Owens had two doubles and a single. Owens, a 16-year-old sophomore, was the star of the game with three hits and pitched four solid innings giving up one run on two hits.
The son of Walter and Debbie Owens, Slade had his pitching strategy mapped out before the game.
“I wanted to keep the ball low in the zone, changing speeds, trying to keep the hitters off balance,” said Owens. “I feel that I have a good defense behind me, so my goal was to make the hitters hit my pitches and let my defense do their job. My change-up was working well tonight, so I used it quite often, setting the hitters up with my fast ball.”
Heartbreaker to John Hardin
LaRue County lost a heartbreaker March 26 against 5th Region rival John Hardin with a score of 4-3 in 10 innings. The Hawks could not maintain a 3-1 lead with the Bulldogs scoring single runs in the fourth, seventh and 10th innings.
Sheeran and Chaudoin led off with back-to-back singles. Both runners were moved into scoring position on a sacrifice bunt by Meredith before starting sophomore pitcher Jesse Johnson ripped a two-out single down the third base line.
LaRue County made it 3-1 in the second as Matt Smith led off with a walk and his courtesy runner, junior Cody Williams, stole second. Williams moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by David Blair and scored on a bunt single by senior right fielder Christian Mullins.
Owens took the loss for the Hawks pitching the 10th inning.
Loss to Barren
The Hawks lost 11-10 to Barren County March 27. A bases-loaded walk in the bottom of the seventh won the game for the homestanding Trojans.
Barren County scored three runs in the seventh off LaRue County sophomore reliever Wesley Kessinger who allowed five hits, five walks and three earned runs. Kessinger had one strikeout.
Meredith homered, doubled, drove in two runs and scored a run while Chaudoin had a double, two singles, two RBIs and two runs.
Sheeran doubled, drove in two runs, scored twice and stole a base. Sophomore Steven Carpenter had two singles, an RBI and a run.