Rockets top Dragons 4-1

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By Todd Martin

The Shelby County baseball team moved to 14-9 on the season with a 4-1 win over visiting South Oldham Thursday behind a strong start from Coty Minnis.

"Coty's pitching allowed us to have some breathing room in the game," SCHS head coach Bart Roettger said. "He did a great job and then Drew McDonald came in and got us out of a jam at the end with two runners on and just one out. The thing with Coty is that he's just now getting into baseball shape. He's pitched two games for us, and has a shutout win over Spencer County and allowed just one run in six innings against South Oldham. He's getting sharp, establishing his fastball and his curve is coming on."

The Rockets have struggled at times this season getting hits with runners in scoring position, but Roettger said that wasn't the case Thursday.

"Overall, we're hitting the ball better now," he said. "We're getting those two-out hits with runners in scoring position. Our team's on base percentage is .453, so guys have been getting on base, that's not the problem. We've just been missing those key hits with guys in position to score. But I think they're getting confident and starting to swing that bat better."

The Rockets have had a bit of a surge over the past few games from both starters and the bench.

Jordan Burk had been struggling at the plate throughout much of the season, but Roettger said that's a thing of the past now.

"With Burk it's like we're getting a player off the disabled list," he said. "He's starting to hit the snot out of the ball, and now it's not going right at people. He had been getting good rips, but they were going right at the defense -- now he's starting to find some holes. It happens to the best of hitters, but, with Burk, the biggest thing was he never let it affect him in the field or on the mound. With him hitting the ball well now it only makes us a better team. He can hit leadoff or in the four-hole."

Off the bench, Roettger noted the play of John Hunter, who was 8-11 last week, and Jacob Livers and Daniel Davenport. All three have started in spot duty, but Roettger said it's getting harder and harder to leave them out of the starting line-up.

"Those three guys are really swinging the bat well right now," he said. "They're taking advantage of every chance they get."

The win over South Oldham kept the Rockets a perfect 6-0 in region play and the only team that hasn't lost to a regional opponent.

"Anytime you beat a regional opponent is big," the coach said. "But especially with all the rivalries we have in the region, it's been fantastic. I think our difficult schedule has had a lot to do with it, and it's a testament to what kind of kids we have. They know there's a little more importance in a region game and they play like it."

The Rockets have one more regional opponent on the schedule, tonight at Simon Kenton, and it doesn't get any easier the rest of the way.

The Rockets face No. 4 Eastern Friday and No. 7 Dunbar Saturday in the Fayette County Invitational, then get No. 8 Trinity, rival Scott County and No. 17 Butler next week before ending the season at 14-7 Connor on Saturday.