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Wildcats perfect in opening week play

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By Tommie Kendall

The rainy weather shrunk Henry County's opening week of five baseball games to just two, but it did little to dampen the Wildcats' spirit as they rolled past Trimble County (5-1) and Model (5-0) to start the season perfect at 2-0.

In Austin Hunsaker's first two games as the head coach since the departure of Mike Thibodeaux, the Cats defeated Trimble last Tuesday, then followed with a shutout win over Model the following night. Pitching, near-perfect defense and just enough offense allowed the Wildcats to start the season just the way they wanted.

"Considering the weather and the inability to get on the field to practice (because of the weather), I couldn't be more pleased with the way we played these first two games," Hunsaker said.

The only concern Hunsaker had during the opening week was his team's play at the plate. Ross Williams led the team with four hits, while Ben Roberts had three, but the rest of the Wildcats didn't give much offensive output. It was enough though, to earn two convincing wins behind solid pitching and defense.

"We have to get our hitting more consistent," Hunsaker said. "But with these early-season games, that's something most of the teams have to deal with - that's the case for just about everybody. Hitting is usually the last thing to come around."

Henry had a slow start at Trimble in both team's season opener, but managed to pour in five runs during the fifth and sixth innings to come away with the four-run victory. The Wildcats scored the tying and go-ahead runs in the fifth and stretched their advantage during the sixth.

Anthony Palmer started on the mound for the Wildcats, giving up just one run in three innings, while Williams came in during the fourth and followed with four shutout innings.

Meanwhile, at the plate, the Wildcats were struggling to put the bat on the ball. But it was timely hitting late in the game that allowed the Cats to come away with the win. With a base runner on second, Williams smacked a RBI triple late in the game to give the Cats just the spark they needed.

"Williams really stepped up and was a great leader during the game," Hunsaker said of the first baseman and pitcher. "He was definitely a key for us."

Henry was back on the field Wednesday night when the Wildcats hosted Model, and once again struggled at the plate, had solid pitching, played well defensively, and finished with five runs.

Jordan Bryant started on the mound, while Tyler Cox and Daniel Lyons also saw time throwing. All three pitchers held Model scoreless during the seven innings.

After the 2-0 start, Henry will be back in action Wednesday when the Wildcats travel to Spencer County. They will then play at Eminence Thursday, at Pleasure Ridge Park Friday and host Oldham County Saturday. If the weather cooperates, it will be a much tougher week for the Cats, who have already had games canceled against Moore, Dupont Manual and Lloyd Memorial.

"Don't get me wrong, I'll never argue with wins," Hunsaker explained. "But once we get more games under our belt, I know our hitting will get much better.

"And with the schedule we have coming up, we have to get better really quick."

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