• Rick Capone, Sports Editor

Fwd: WCHS baseball teams goes 3-2 to open 2016 season

CLAY ROUSE reads the signals from his catcher before his next pitch during the Woodford County High School baseball team’s home game against East Jessamine on Friday, March 18. Rouse came into relieve starter Alec Neff in a very tough game, which the Jaguars won 11-0 in six innings. (Photo by Rick Capone)

It’s been a wild ride for the Woodford County High School baseball team since its opening 11-1 win over Scott County on Tuesday, March 15. After dominating the Cardinals, the Bat Jackets lost two mercy-rule games, falling to Madison Central on the road 14-1 in five innings on Wednesday, March 16, and then losing to East Jessamine at home 11-0 in six innings on Friday, March 18. But, under the guidance of head coach Paul Patterson, Woodford bounced back from those tough losses and scored two wins. The first came on Saturday, March 19, when the Bat Jackets won a close game, 4-3, over Greenwood, and the second came on Monday, March 21, with a 2-0 shutout over Danville. With those games completed, Woodford is now 3-2 overall and 1-1 in the region. The game against East Jessamine was a tough one for Woodford, especially coming against the team that Patterson and a number of his coaching staff worked at before coming to Versailles. Junior Alec Neff got the start for the Bat Jackets in the game and he made short work of the Jaguars in the first inning, as they went down in order. In the bottom of the first, Woodford got off to a good start and, with one out, got two men on base, as senior Nate Beavers was walked and sophomore Caleb McNeeley hit a groundball single to left field, which advanced Beavers to second. But the East Jessamine pitcher buckled down and struck out the next Woodford batter for the second out, and forced an easy hit to the shortstop, who threw it to first for the third out to end a scoreless first inning. The Jaguars struck big time in the second inning, which forced Patterson to pull Neff and put in senior Clay Rouse in relief after East Jessamine put four runs on the board. Rouse did a good job, but the Jaguars got one more run in the inning to make it a 5-0 ball game. In the bottom of the second, however, Woodford was unable to respond and went down in order. East Jessamine then put another run on the board in the top of the third inning to take a 6-0 lead, and other than a walk in their half of the inning, Woodford was unable to score a run once again. The Jaguars scored one more run in the fourth inning to go ahead 7-0, and then Woodford responded with their best inning of the game. It began with junior Parker Thomas getting to first after being hit by a pitch. Senior Colin Enlow then got to first on a third-strike pass ball, which advanced Thomas to second base. Junior Dalton Smither then hit a fly ball to left field, which was caught for the first out of the inning, but which also advanced Enlow to third and Thomas to second. Then, with two outs, junior Benjamin Denton was hit with a pitch, which loaded the bases for the Bat Jackets. However, the next Woodford batter hit an easy ball right back to the pitcher, who threw it to first for the third out to end the inning and end the Bat Jackets’ best scoring opportunity in the game. The fifth inning saw sophomore Hunter Hilbert take the mound in relief of Rouse, and East Jessamine pounced with two more runs, which included a home run, to give the Jaguars a 9-0 lead. After getting Woodford out in order, East Jessamine put three more runs on the board in the top of the sixth inning to take an 11-0 lead in the game. Woodford tried to respond, and got one man on base, but they were unable to score and the Jaguars got the mercy-rule win. Next up, Woodford travels to Ft. Walton Beach, Fla., for the Ft. Walton Beach Bash. There, the varsity will play five games and the junior varsity will play four games agasint teams from Ohio, as well as Lexington Christian Academy, who is also making the trip to Florida. Woodford returns to action in Kentucky on Monday, April 4, at Boyle County.

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