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Middle school team falls to Carroll

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By Laura Clark

Shelby County’s 5-run rally in the bottom of the fourth wasn’t enough to overcome Carroll County’s 8-run lead, and Shelby County’s middle school varsity team lost, 11-6, at home Monday.

It was the third loss in a row for Shelby, and Coach Joe Woolwine said his young team is adjusting to high-caliber pitching and a bigger field.

“That’s their best pitcher,” Woolwine said of Carroll’s John Adams. “They’re a pretty solid team. They’re a little bit older than us.”

Shelby County had its chances to hang with Carroll County early in the game. The Panthers (4-1) scored two runs in the top of the first inning. Shelby loaded the bases with two walks and a hit and only one out, but a pop fly and strikeout left the runners in scoring position.

“Right now we’re just having trouble on timely hitting,” Woolwine said. “We’re getting people on base, but we can’t capitalize. We left eight runners on base.”

Carroll scored one run in the second off a passed ball, but the Shelby defense stepped up, and starting pitcher Landon Forrest got a strikeout to end the inning.

Then Shelby’s Stephen Thornton scored his team’s first run, doubling to center and being driven home by Mitchell Clifton.

But the Panthers came out swinging in the third inning, and Shelby’s defense blew up. Carroll County batted around, scoring five runs. Shelby’s E.J. Burk relieved Forrest early in the inning.

“We had a lot of bad plays in that inning that caused those runs,” Woolwine said.

He pointed to little mistakes like dropped pop ups, passed balls and some missed double-play opportunities that added up quickly in Carroll’s favor.

To further disappoint, Shelby loaded again with just one out, but Ryan Anderson hit into a double play that ended the inning.

Down, 9-1, in the bottom of the fourth inning, Shelby started to catch up with Adams’ pitches.

Thornton doubled to center field, stole third base, and Shelby loaded the bases behind him with a single and a walk. Clifton singled to center to start the scoring, and Mason Jefferies capped it with two RBIs.

“That rally really boosts the confidence of the team,” Woolwine said.

Just five games into the season, Woolwine said Shelby (2-3) has the opportunity to develop its hitting and defense before the conference championships in May.