Cards shut out by Colonels as season comes to an end

Published 4:00 pm Tuesday, May 16, 2023

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Entering their 40th District semifinal matchup against Bourbon County (26-10), George Rogers Clark (22-12) was viewed as having one of the top-rated pitching staffs in the 10th Region.

However, the Colonels shined just a bit brighter in a low-scoring affair.

J.T. Ritchie threw a two-hit complete game shutout, and the Cards fell to the Colonels 2-0 at Montgomery County High School.

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Their season ends with a record of 22-12, including an 8-4 record in 10th Region play.

“We just could not find some guys on base,” said GRC Head Baseball Coach Chris Varney. “We were so close all night long…it just wasn’t meant to be.”

The Cards had reason to be confident going into the game, as they had previously defeated the Colonels in two games earlier this year by scores of 7-4 and 10-0.

However, an inauspicious start gave their opponent some momentum.

Following a walk and hit by pitch, Bourbon County advanced runners to second and third base on a sacrifice bunt before Tanner Moore drove in Jake Scott with an RBI groundout.

In their half of the first inning, the Cards also got runners on second and third base.

However, a strikeout by J.P. Gaines ended the early scoring threat.

From there, both pitchers settled into their groove, with the Cards’ Lochlan Hansel finishing with seven strikeouts over 4 ⅓ innings pitched.

The Colonels added to their lead in the third inning, scoring on a passed ball.

However, looking to build their lead, the Colonels ran into trouble with the Cards’ defense in the fifth inning.

With the bases loaded and only one out, Jordan Soliz was brought in to relieve Hansel.

On a fly ball to right field, Ben Fulks threw to home plate where , with the runner attempting to score from third base on a sacrifice fly, Gaines put down the tag and gave GRC some momentum.

In the bottom of the inning, Carter Maynard delivered a single for their first hit of the contest.

However, Ritchie would get out of the inning before any further damage.

Caden Spicer was responsible for the other Cards’ hit in the sixth inning with a two-out single.

Not going down easily, the Cards attempted to rally in the bottom of the seventh inning.

Fulks and Maynard walked, bringing Kamden McAlpin to bat, representing the winning run.

McAlpin made solid contact with two strikes and drove the ball to right field.

However, Scott made the catch that ended the game and the Cards’ season.

With the defeat, the Cards lose Keyonte Back, Logan Connor, Devlin Gray and Jake Sears to graduation.

“You’re never ready to tell them goodbye,” Varney added. “What I told them is we’re all told at some point that our baseball career is over…it’s just part of life and getting older and getting on to the next stage of your life. They’re good teammates, all four of them.”

GRC returns several key players, including Gaines, Fulks, Hansel, Soliz, Maynard, McAlpin, Brady Davis, Abrahm Howard, Abe Mullins, Caden Spicer, and Chase Wheeler.

“We usually play good defense. That’s just who we are,” Varney said. “The game is a lot easier when you can score runs. It just makes your defense not have to be so perfect.”