Baseball Cards lose consecutive home games

Published 5:15 pm Thursday, March 28, 2024

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The George Rogers Clark High School baseball team has already faced unforeseen adversity in the young 2024 season, but have come through on a positive note by defeating teams including defending 11th Region Champion Lexington Catholic. 

However, a pair of games to begin the week of March 25 told a different story. 

The Cards came up short in consecutive home games to Frankfort (4-4) and Henry Clay (3-6), moving their record to 4-4 as of the morning of Thursday, March 28. 

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“We weren’t focused like we needed to be [against Frankfort]…kind of got behind early [and] never really was much into the baseball game,” said Steve Caldwell, who is serving as interim head coach while Eddie Brooks takes time away from the dugout due to a medical situation. “[Against] Henry Clay…I thought we played a decent ballgame.” 

The Cards fell behind in the third inning against the Panthers, as Frankfort netted three runs off an RBI groundout from Drew Ludwig and single from Teagan Crowdus, while Aiden Mundy scored from third on a wild pitch. 

In the bottom half of the fourth, the Cards got on the scoreboard as Chase Wheeler brought home Caden Spicer on a sacrifice fly. 

However, the Panthers added three more over the next two innings. 

For the Cards, J.P. Gaines brought a runner home with the bases loaded in the bottom half of the sixth and reached on an error and – after Frankfort scored three runs in the top of the 7th GRC made it interesting by scoring two runs and leaving the bases loaded, with the tying run on deck. 

However, a double play officially ended the contest, resulting in a 9-4 Panther victory. 

Two nights later, the Cards were back in action against Henry Clay. 

The Blue Devils jumped out to an early 5-0 lead scoring all their runs in the first two innings, including a pair on RBI singles from Alex Elmadolar and Giancarlo Gonzalez – who also was the game’s starting pitcher. 

Not one to go down without a fight, the Cards scored three runs of their own in the bottom of the third after Ben Fulks, JP Gaines, and Caden Matthews each crossed home plate. Much of the rest of the game turned out to be a pitcher’s duel. 

Among highlights for the Cards was pitcher Haddon Cecil throwing 3 ⅔ scoreless innings in relief, including pitching GRC out of trouble in the fourth inning with consecutive strikeouts after Henry Clay had loaded the bases with only one out. 

“Cecil came in and held them right where they’re at,” Caldwell added. 

The Cards threatened to score in the sixth inning. 

However, a relay throw nabbed Matthews at home plate, while Blue Devils’ relief pitcher Chardy Tierney delivered an inning-ending strikeout with the bases loaded. 

In the bottom half of the seventh, the Cards got one run closer on a two-out, RBI single by Abe Mullins. 

However, Tierney forced a game-ending groundout, and Henry Clay left Winchester with a 5-4 victory. 

While the end outcome was not as desired, Coach Caldwell added that he felt positives could be taken away from the experience. 

“Tonight is kind of an example of the kind of game that we need to play every single night,” he said. “This is the kind of team that I think we can be every single night.” 

Following the two losses, GRC’s record drops to 4-4. 

They’ll finish the week with matchups against Lexington Christian (1-4) in Fayette County on Thursday at 6:00 p.m., and a home game against Whitley County (5-5) in Winchester on Friday, March 29 at 6:30 p.m. 

Whitley County is the defending KHSAA High School Baseball State Champion. 

“Whitley County has been one of the better teams in the state for the last few years,” Caldwell said. “We’re [going to] have to come out and play good baseball.”