Bat Jackets win district battle; win three straight
McNeely led off the top of the first inning with a double to right field and later scored on a single by junior Charlie Corum. Later in the inning, Corum scored from third base when senior Sam Flora walked with the bases loaded.
In the top of the fifth inning, Corum scored from third base when junior Griffin Blankenship grounded out to shortstop. Flora singled to right field and stole second base. He later scored on a single by WCHS sophomore Skyelar Johnson to increase the Jacket lead to 4-0.
The Flyers had two batters reach base to start the bottom of the sixth inning but McNeely induced three straight outs to shut down the Flyer rally. In the bottom of the seventh, McNeely retired the Flyers in order to close out the win.
The Woodford County High School baseball team won 4-2 over Franklin County High School on Thursday, April 26 at Chandler Field. Senior Hunter Hilbert pitched seven innings, allowing two runs and struck out seven batters. The Flyers were able to string some hits together early in the game to rattle Hilbert, but he battled his way to the victory.
“This was a crazy game tonight,” said Hilbert. “I don't think I had my best stuff tonight. I didn't feel warm after the bullpen and they were able to make solid contact early. I dug deep and my off-speed stuff allowed me to control the rest of the game. We have a great offense and I knew that two runs weren't enough to beat us, so I held them off and our offense did their job.”
In the top of the first, Hilbert surrendered a lead-off walk and, two batters later hit Flyer catcher Jesse Thurman with an off-speed pitch in the shoulder. Things became tense for a bit as Thurman was upset about being hit with the pitch. The home plate umpire warned the Franklin County dugout and the game continued. The Flyers scored two runs on an RBI double by Isaac Dotson, but Hilbert escaped the jam by getting a pop out to first base.
In the bottom of the first inning, a pair of Jacket batters were hit by pitches but the Flyers escaped trouble when Flora lined into a double play.
WCHS junior Leo Guadagni and junior Ben Browning both reached base on errors to start the bottom of the third inning. Guadagni scored on a sacrifice fly by Corum and the Jackets took the lead two batters later on a two-run double by Blankenship.
WCHS sophomore Skyelar Johnson hit a double to left field to lead off the bottom of the fourth inning. Guadagni moved Johnson to third on a sacrifice bunt and Johnson scored on a ground out by Browning.
In the top of the seventh, Hilbert struck out all three Flyer batters on 10 pitches to seal the win.
“I feel great right now because we know how important these district games are to win,” said Johnson. “I think we gained a lot of confidence tonight knowing that we can be down early and that our bats can get hot and we score some runs quickly.”
“It's always good to beat Franklin County,” said Guadagni. “We started slow but figured it out quickly. This isn't the type of team where we get down on ourselves. These guys love to step in and take their hacks at the ball.”
The Woodford County High School baseball team won its third game in a row on Monday, April 30 when they beat East Jessamine High School, 11-1. The Jackets have allowed just three runs during the win streak.
WCHS sophomore Kyle Sims started the game for the Jackets and pitched one inning, walking two and allowing one run. WCHS sophomore Conner Jackson pitched four innings allowing only two hits while striking out six.
Johnson went two-for-three at the plate and drove in three runs and Blankenship was two-for-four and drove in a pair. McNeely swiped four stolen bases.