Wildcats continue winning streak

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By Tommie Kendall

Sports editor

The Henry County Wildcats, who haven’t lost a game since April 7, stretched their winning streak to eight straight heading into this week’s baseball action.

Led by solid pitching, fielding and batting in four games last week, the Cats defeated Carroll County (5-4), Walton-Verona (10-0), Warren Central (3-2) and Bullitt East (9-3) to improve to an impressive 10-2 record. The last two games were part of the PTA Wooden Bat Classic, held in Elizabethtown over the weekend.

“Our play carried over from the week before,” Henry coach Austin Hunsaker said of his team’s combined 8-1 mark during the two-week stretch. “We continued to play well and continued to get better. Our pitching was outstanding and our batting really came around.”

Henry opened last week with a 5-4 district win at Carroll County Tuesday night. The Wildcats scored one run in the second inning, one in the third and three in the game-deciding seventh for the win.

Behind 4-2 heading into the final inning of play, the Cats came through in the clutch. Starting with the top of the lineup, Anthony Palmer was hit by a pitch, sacrificed to second base by Taylor Boone’s grounder and scored by Ross Williams’ single. Williams eventually scored the tying run and Ben Roberts scored the go-ahead run to put Henry ahead for good.

Tyler Cox pitched the complete game for Henry, gutting it out in a “very good effort,” Hunsaker said. Offensively, the Wildcats finished with seven hits, including two each from Palmer, Williams and Jordan Bryant.

Henry was back on the field Thursday night when the Wildcats hosted Walton-Verona. Palmer earned the shutout and the Cats came away with a convincing 10-0 win after five innings.

In front 1-0, Henry had a big third inning, scoring seven runs to put the game out of reach for the Bearcats. Steven Tillett drew a leadoff walk, was sacrificed to second base on Palmer’s grounder and eventually scored. He was followed across home plate by the next six batters — Boone, Roberts, Williams, Tommy Wilson, Joey Pollard and Bryant.

Meanwhile, Walton-Verona never saw home plate and finished with just four base runners and three hits.

Henry tacked on two more wins to its record Saturday in the Wooden Bat Classic, defeating both Warren Central and Bullitt East. Bryant pitched the complete game against Warren Central, while Williams and Nolan DeBurger split pitching against Bullitt East.

The weather wasn’t very cooperative Saturday, with a light drizzle for most of the day, but it didn’t have much effect on the Wildcats’ performance.

“Our players still made the plays they needed to,” Hunsaker said. “For the most part, I thought we did very well.”

Against Warren Central, Henry scored two runs in the sixth and one in the seventh for the 3-2 win. In the sixth, Pollard hit a single and Bryant was hit by a pitch to put two on, Cox had an RBI single to score Pollard, and Tillett had an RBI single to score Bryant.

Warren Central, on the other hand, managed to squeeze in two runs in the final two innings, but came up one run shy.

Henry closed out the week, and the Wooden Bat Classic, with a 9-3 win over Bullitt East Saturday night. A majority of the Wildcats’ runs came during the third inning, when they crossed home plate six times. Bullitt East managed one run in the fourth and two in the sixth.

After the week — which left Henry at 10-2 overall, 3-1 8th Region, 1-0 31st District — the Wildcats hosted Owen County Monday night and traveled to Carroll County Tuesday in two key district matchups. They will be back in action Thursday when they travel to Moore. Game time against the host Mustangs is set for 5:30 p.m.

The only two losses Henry has had so far this season is from Spencer County (3-2) and Male (5-1).

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