• Rick Capone, Sports Editor

WCHS baseball falls to Western Hills in district clash

CHARLIE CORUM tags a Western Hills batter out on a third-strike passed ball during the Woodford County High School baseball game at home on Tuesday, April 19. Western Hills won it 5-2. (Photo by Steve Blake/multiexposures.com)

In an important district match-up on Tuesday, April 19, the Woodford County High School baseball team lost a hard-fought game at home on Chandler Field to Western Hills, 5-2. In the game, the Wolverines took a 2-0 lead in the third inning, and while the Bat Jackets played hard to try and come back, and even rallied in the sixth inning, loaded the bases and scored two runs, the Western Hills pitching and defense thwarted them at every turn and went on to get the win. “We’ve made a lot of progress as a whole,” said Woodford head coach Paul Patterson. “This team just needs to trust themselves and believe. We need a come-from-behind win.” Patterson also believes his team needs to gain some toughness, both mental and physical, to reach their full potential. “We still need to learn a little bit of toughness,” he said. “They’re getting themselves in position to win and then not doing it.” With the loss, plus a 4-0 road win over another district opponent, Franklin County, on Wednesday, April 13, and a 2-1 road loss to East Jessamine on Friday, April 15, Woodford is now 8-9 overall, 3-3 in the region and 2-1 in the district. Senior Nate Beavers got the start on the mound in Wednesday’s game and quickly got Western Hills out in order. The Wolverines responded in kind, getting Woodford out in order to end the inning. In the top of the second, Beavers repeated his first inning performance, getting Western Hills out in order, then in the bottom of the second, Woodford put two runners on base, but could not score and the game remained scoreless after two. Western Hills struck first in the third, scoring two runs to take a 2-0 lead, then added one more run in the fifth inning to make it a 3-0 ball game. In both innings, Woodford was able to get men on base, but they still could not get a runner across home plate. Western Hills added two more runs in the sixth to take a 5-0 lead, and then Woodford responded in their half of the inning with two runs of their own. To start, the Bat Jackets loaded the bases on two walks and a hit batter. Then, with two outs, junior Parker Thomas hit a ground ball up the middle into centerfield, which scored two runs to make it 5-2. In the top of the seventh, Beavers seemed to get stronger and put Western Hills down with a strikeout and two fly balls to the outfield that were easily caught to end the inning. Then, in the bottom of the seventh, Woodford got two men on base on walks. That forced Western Hills to put in its third pitcher of the game, who struck out the next three Bat Jackets to seal the win for the Wolverines. Despite the loss, there were a few bright spots for Woodford, which included Beavers, who pitched a complete game and had 10 strikeouts, while giving up no walks and six hits. “Nate pitched well enough to win,” said Patterson. “(He) threw really well. I think he had 10 strikeouts and no walks, no hit batters. I thought he competed. He only made one or two mistakes in the game. … I think he might have given up one earned run. Other than that, it’s a tough one. … There’s things that they’re (his players) doing really well, (and) then there’s things we need to clean up.” In their game against Franklin County on Wednesday, April 13, Beavers was on the mound again and pitched a complete game shutout to score the 4-0 win. He had 10 strikeouts and 22 first-pitch strikes. Offensively, freshman Charlie Corum had a two-run double in the first inning to get Woodford started. Then senior Mason Robinette and junior Jack Ockerman each had an RBI in the second inning to give Woodford a 4-0 lead, which they rode the rest of the way to get the win.

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