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Wildcats need a consistent bat, coach Hunsaker says

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By Tommie Kendall

Sports editor

In familiar fashion, the Henry County Wildcats relied on their pitching to keep them in two close baseball games last week, but their offensive output came up just shy as the Cats took back-to-back one-run losses.

The Wildcats, who are on a three-game skid after winning 10 of 11 games, lost to Gallatin County (5-4) last Wednesday and Williamstown (4-3) Thursday, which left them at 12-6 with a few weeks remaining in the regular season.

“Our pitching keeps us in games, we just haven’t been hitting well enough to win them,” Henry coach Austin Hunsaker said. “We were on a streak where we were hitting really well and catching breaks. Now, we have to be even tougher and compete even harder from here on out.”

At Gallatin, Henry was trailing 4-1 before the Wildcats stormed back and tied the game at 4 in the top of the seventh inning. But Gallatin scored the go-ahead run in the bottom of the seventh for the 5-4 win. Anthony Palmer and Tyler Cox split time on the mound for Henry.

At Williamstown the following day, the difference in the game was the fact that Henry struck out 13 times. Jordan Bryant and Taylor Boone threw well from the mound, but the Cats couldn’t get much output at the plate.

“It doesn’t matter who you’re playing, if you strike out that many times then it’s going to be hard for you to win,” Hunsaker said. “That just killed us.”

The usually quiet Hunsaker was vocal in the Gallatin loss, which got him tossed out of the contest during the bottom of the seventh and on a one-game suspension due to the injection against Williamstown.

“I just felt like we teach our pitchers to hit the corners and we had a lot of pitches that I’ve never seen an umpire not call,” Hunsaker said. “We didn’t get any calls at the plate, there were some close calls on the bases that we didn’t get. It was just a combination. Usually, I don’t get upset but I felt like our kids played so hard and were doing the things we taught them, and the game was taken out of their hands.

“I’ve seen coaches do a whole lot worst and not get tossed though,” Hunsaker added.

The Wildcats started the season at an even 2-2 before jumping on an eight-game winning streak. The Cats then lost to Owen County (7-5) and defeated both Model (13-0) and Moore (19-5) before losing to Grant County (14-4), Gallatin and Williamstown.

The Cats played at Louisville Collegiate Monday, while the opening round of the North Central Kentucky Conference tournament scheduled for this Thursday at home might be moved to Wednesday due to a predicted rain forecast for Thursday. Henry will play Trimble with game time set for 5:30 p.m. on either day.

“We are struggling a little as of late, but that has to do with us not hitting consistently enough,” Hunsaker said. “We need to be a little more consistent from here on out. We’re running out of time.”

E-mail us about this story at sports@hclocal.com.