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Tates Creek cools down Rockets

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Roettger suspended after ejection in rout of Conner

By Josh Cook

It was a slow start but a strong finish for the Shelby County baseball team Saturday.

The Rockets fell to Tates Creek, 12-6, but bounced back to beat Conner, 9-2 – even though their coach wasn’t around to see much of it – in the Harrison Memorial Hospital/McDonald’s Classic in Cynthiana to improve to their record to 16-3.

 

Tates Creek 12, Shelby County 6

In a game between two teams ranked in the top 25 (Tates Creek No. 11, Shelby County No. 22) of the Kentucky High School Baseball Coaches Association poll, the Commodores (4-3) roughed up the Rockets early, building a 9-1 lead.

“Going into the weekend, we felt like the games versus ranked Tates Creek and ninth region contender Conner were coming at a great time with district games starting this week,” Shelby County Coach Bart “Rudy” Roettger said. “Unfortunately our guys played a little tentative coming out of the starting gates. Our pitchers were throwing strikes but against a good-hitting team like Tates Creek, you can't throw from behind in the count like we did on Saturday.”   

The Commodores pounded out 17 hits to the Rockets’ 5.

“On the good side, several pitchers got some good experience throwing against one of the best-hitting teams we have faced since I have been at Shelby County,” said Roettger, who used Tyler Eades, Kevin Veeley, Riley Everson and Kyler Dugle against Tates Creek.     

Also on the bright side for Roettger was the fact that his team battled back, scoring five runs in the fifth inning, “thanks to our bats finally coming to life,” he said.   

“Our guys could have folded after getting down nine to one, but they didn't,” Roettger said. “We had an opportunity to close the deficit even more with runners on first and third and no outs but couldn't execute a safety squeeze properly and doubled ourselves off.”

Five different Rockets had hits. Junior Dillon Boone had three RBIs, and fellow junior Kipp Moore scored two runs.    

 

Shelby County 9, Conner 2

The Rockets broke open a close game against the Cougars (7-7) by plating six runs in the top of the seventh inning.

“Everyone calmed down from a disappointing first game,” Roettger said. “Guys [were] looking for good pitches to hit early in the count.”

Shelby County scored three runs – all with no outs – in the top of the first inning.

Moore led off the game with a walk, Boone singled and Kam Bruner doubled (scoring Moore). After Boone scored on a passed ball, Veeley’s single to center scored Everson, who was running for Bruner. In that inning, though, Roettger was ejected for arguing with an umpire. Under Kentucky High School Athletic Association rules he’ll sit out Shelby’s subsequent three games, including Tuesday night’s 30th District contest against Anderson County.

Conner cut the Rockets’ lead to one run in the bottom of the fourth, thanks to back-to-back solo homers. Those were the last runs, though, until the seventh.

“Despite one of the better juniors in the state keeping us scoreless after the first inning, our guys played flawless defense,” Roettger said. “Our outfield has made huge plays all year, and this game was no exception. Zach Holmes made a great play on a deep drive to the right-center field gap. Kyle Durbin also made a couple of very nice plays to keep Conner from tying the game. If you are a pitcher, it has to be comforting knowing that you can pitch aggressively knowing that your outfield can go get most balls hit.”   

In the seventh Moore led off by beating out an infield hit before Boone reached on an error. Bruner then reached on a fielder’s choice, which allowed Moore to score. Veeley followed with a single to center, scoring Boone, before Holmes doubled in Bruner. Austin Rhodes’ RBI-single and Jakub Noonan’s sacrifice fly each plated a run to boost the Rockets’ lead to 8-2. A little later Eades’ 2-out single scored Rhodes.

“Our approaches at the plate were some of the best of the year,” Roettger said. “All baseballs hit in that inning were well hit.”   

That was more than enough offense for Bruner, who picked up his third victory. He gave up two earned runs on six hits while walking one and striking out three in 4 1/3 innings.

“[Kam] showed how much he has matured on the mound in the last year,” Roettger said. “First, in the past Kam would let his offensive game dictate how he came out and threw. Saturday showed he has grown up a lot in regards to this. He did a great job attacking a good-hitting team like Conner.

“Secondly, most high school pitchers would fall apart after back-to-back homers, but Kam kept his composure and got some big outs after that.”

Dugle relieved Bruner in the fifth and “got us out of some tight situations,” Roettger said.  Noonan tossed the final 1 1/3 innings, giving up one hit and striking out one. 

Moore finished with three hits, while Veeley had two and two RBIs and Bruner tallied two RBIs.

“A big win against a good team,” Roettger said. “I also liked that it was a total team effort from the guys in the dugout, to the coaching staff. We played this game like it was a district or region tourney game. With district seed games starting this week, hopefully this experience will pay off.”

The Rockets, who hosted Anderson County on Tuesday night in a 30th District game, host Louisville Moore at 5:30 p.m. today.

 

 

Harrison Memorial Hospital/McDonald’s Classic

Tates Creek 12, Shelby County 6

Tates Creek 113 220 3 – 12 17 3

Shelby County 100 050 0 – 6 5 1

Aaron Mitchell, Tanner Hart, Louis Patterson, Austin Block, Nick Richmond. Tyler Eades, Kevin Veeley, Riley Everson, Kyler Dugle. W – Hart. L – Eades (2-2). 2B – Kipp Moore (SCHS), Devin Hairston (TC) 2. 3B – Dillon Boone (SCHS). HR – Javon Shelby (TC). Record – Tates Creek 4-3.

 

Shelby County 9, Conner 2

Shelby County 300 000 6 – 9 11 1

Conner 000 200 0 – 2 7 3

Kam Bruner, Kyler Dugle, Jakub Noonan. Cameron Ross, Dustin Herrmann. W – Bruner (3-0). L – Herrmann. 2B – Kipp Moore (SCHS), Bruner (SCHS), Zach Holmes (SCHS). HR – Austin Brake (CHS), Blake Maines (CHS). Records – Shelby County 16-3, Conner 7-7.