• Rick Capone, Sports Editor

Thomas, Bat Jackets shut down Franklin Co.

PARKER THOMAS got the start for the Woodford County High School baseball team against district opponent Franklin County at home on Tuesday, April 18, and after a shaky start, got down to business to help the Bat Jackets win the game, 4-2. Thomas pitched all seven innings and had seven strikeouts, while giving up two runs on four hits and one walk. (Photo by Rick Capone)

The Woodford County High School baseball team got off to a bumpy start in its home game against district foe Franklin County on Tuesday, April 18. With senior Parker Thomas getting the start on the mound, the Flyers batters came out swinging, and before the Bat Jackets could get out of the inning, Franklin County had a 1-0 lead. While Woodford did not respond well in the bottom of the first, when Thomas retook the mound in the second inning, he was a different pitcher, as he kept the Flyers off the bases for most of the remainder of the game. Meanwhile, Woodford’s bats came alive in the bottom of the second inning and by the time the inning was over, the Bat Jackets had a 4-1 lead, which they did not relinquish the rest of the game. The scoring began when sophomore Charlie Corum hit a high bouncing ball to the shortstop, who was able to field it cleanly, but then over threw first base and Corum was safe. Senior Harrison Keith then came in as a courtesy runner for Corum. Junior Josh Hall then hit a single to the outfield, which advanced Corum to second, while Hall was safe at first. Sophomore Ben Browning then hit a ground ball that went out to right-center field, and allowed Corum to score on an overthrow to home plate to tie the game, 1-1. In addition, Keith advanced to third base, Hall made it to second and Browning was on first. Thomas was the next batter and he helped his own cause by hitting a double to the center field fence, which scored Keith and Hall to make it 3-1, in the Bat Jackets’ favor. Then with two outs and senior Alex Neff on second, senior Jack Ockerman hit a hard ground ball down the third base line. The third baseman missed it and the ball went into left field and allowed Neff to score to give Woodford a 4-1 lead. Neither team scored after that until the top of the seventh inning when Franklin County got runners on first and second and then managed to get one run across the plate to make it a 4-2 ball game. After that, Thomas took care of business and forced the Flyers to hit an easy grounder to second, which ended in the first out, then two fly balls, one to left field for an out and the other to right field for the final out and the Woodford victory. The win was a good bounce-back game for Woodford following a loss against another district opponent, Western Hills, on Wednesday, April 12 at home, a win over Western Hills, on Thursday, April 13, and a 7-6 loss in extra innings at Dunbar on Friday, April 14. In their first game against Western Hills at home on Wednesday, the Wolverines took an early lead and shut out the Bat Jackets, 13-0. Western Hills scored five runs in the first inning to take an early 5-0 lead, then added three more in the second, one in the third and four more in the seventh. In the game, Thomas pitched 1-1/3rd-innngs and had three strikeouts, while giving up eight runs on two hits and two walks. Junior Colin Murry pitched 4-2/3rd-innings and had four strikeouts, while giving up four runs on seven hits and one walk. Junior Joseph Sutherland also pitched 2/3rds of an inning and had one strikeout, while giving up one run on two hits. The next night, Woodford and Western Hills met again, this time in Frankfort, and this time the Bat Jackets buckled down and scored a 2-1 win. Woodford scored its two runs in the top of the fifth inning. Western Hills tried to come back in the bottom of the fifth, but only got one run. Two innings later, Woodford walked off the field with the 2-1 victory. Ockerman got the start and pitched a complete game. He ended with nine strikeouts, while giving up one run on two hits and two walks. Then on Friday, Woodford was on the road again, this time against Dunbar in Lexington. There, in a hard-fought game, the Bat Jackets lost 7-6 in the ninth inning. In the game, Dunbar took an early 3-1 lead in the first inning. Woodford then scored five runs in the sixth to take a 6-3 lead. But, Dunbar came back and scored three runs in the bottom of the sixth to tie it 6-6. Neither team scored in the seventh, which sent the game into extra innings. The tie remained intact until the bottom of the ninth, when Dunbar was able to get a runner across home plate to get the 7-6 win. Woodford used four pitchers in the game. Sophomore Logan Slone pitched 2-2/3rd-innings and had two strikeouts while giving up three runs on three hits and three walks. Neff pitched one inning and had one strikeout, while giving up three runs and four walks. Junior Caleb McNeely pitched 2-2/3rd-innings and had five strikeouts, but gave up one run and three walks. Sutherland also pitched two innings and had one strikeout and one walk. Next up, Woodford hosts two opponents. First is Bryan Station on Friday, April 21, at 5:30 p.m., and then Collins at noon on Saturday, April 22. The team then plays two games on the road. On Monday, April 24, they are at Madison Southern, then on Tuesday, April 25, they are at Frankfort. Both games start at 6 p.m.

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