GRC Baseball ready for district tournament
Published 2:56 pm Tuesday, May 17, 2022
BY MATT CIZEK
One year removed from a high-scoring, 13-12 loss to Bourbon County in the opener of the 40 th District Tournament, the George Rogers Clark boys baseball team looks to write a different story in this year’s contest.
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On Tuesday night, the Cards (18-12) take on Paris (9-20) in their opener in Winchester, with the winner to advance to the Championship Game against the victor of a match-up between Montgomery County and Bourbon County.
The Cards defeated the Greyhounds twice this year by a combined score of 23-4.
“Survive and advance” Head Coach Chris Varney said. “We want to try to get on a roll.”
This year’s Cards teams has some new talent that didn’t embody their squad last season.
Senior Tanner Walton, a 3 rd baseman and University of the Cumberlands basketball commit who starred for the Cards’ state championship winning team, has been called “Mr. Consistent” and mans the hot corner at third base.
And, with a youthful squad that includes outfielder Kamden McAlpin (freshman), first baseman Caden Spicer (sophomore), as well as sophomore shortstop, pitcher, and University of Louisville verbal commit Brady Davis, the Cards bring plenty of youthful and experienced talent on the field.
Notably, first-year Cards’ coach Chris Varney is a former coach of district rival Montgomery County.
The Indians enter the tournament with a 16-12 record and as defending 40th District Champions. The Cards’ lone 40 th District defeat was to Montgomery County, 6-5 in nine innings on April 25th .
“It’s a new year with different teams,” Varney said. “We want to treat each game like any other [team] in the postseason.”
For their part, the Bourbon County Colonels enter the contest with a 20-10 record, though two of their losses come by equal 7-1 scores to the Cards in their prior matchups this year.
The Cards’ most recent outing resulted in a close, 10-8 loss to 10 th Region leading Harrison County.
Beforehand, they’d gone on an 8-game winning streak, easily the longest of their season.
They’ve also seen success against high-quality teams, including a 9-1 win over defending 10th Region champion Campbell County (18-10) and convincing victories against Mason County (16-13) and Bath
Among other accomplishments during this stretch, GRC has seen stellar pitching performances from several individuals – including Devlin Gray and Zack Brookshire – while having 6 homeruns in their last 4
Such pitchers, along with others such as Keyonte Back and reliever Jordan Soliz, might be seen.
In a close game, the Cards can employ a pinch runner such as the quick Spencer Stocker.
When not in the starting lineup, batters including Carter Maynard, Jake Sears, and Caden Matthews can provide depth by coming off the bench to hit.
Though exciting for many Cards fans, Coach Varney cautions that the recent string of wins alone isn’t enough to propel the team forward.
“I’ve seen teams on long streaks lose in the first round, and others [start to play well],” he said. “We want to put ourselves in the best position possible.”
As the postseason – called the second season by some – comes around, it can become easy to get distracted. Coach Varney stated that coming together as one will be essential.
“[We need to] try to stick together, and deal with the high pressure and high intensity,” he states. “The team that sticks together the closest comes out on top.”