ARMED FOR BATTLE/Trojans’ Joey Meyers, Skylar Potter keep Bowling Green bats in check, 5-3


GLASGOW — Bowling Green High School’s baseball team has negotiated one obstacle after another over the last month or so.

First, veteran BGHS head coach Nathan Isenberg had to take a medical leave of absence earlier this year, bringing Purples colleague Adam Whitt to the dugout from the school’s golf program.

Then, the Purples started winning games, stressing fundamentals and capitalizing on offensive opportunities. A lot of games. Bowling Green took a perfect 16-0 record into Monday evening’s non-district game at Barren County, with KHSAA 14th District play looming on the horizon.

BGHS had already defeated the Trojans, opening the season with a 10-0 drubbing at refurbished Harold J. Stahl Field in Bowling Green.

So Barren County coach Derrick Alfonso’s squad was content to lay in wait, anxious to get another shot at the Purples.

“The big thing I preached to the guys was we started this winning streak of theirs,” Alfonso said, “and we wanted to be the ones that ended it … We’ve got a long way to go, but it’s big for our program to get a win against the No. 1 RPI team in the state.”

Barren County’s Joey Meyers and Skylar Potter guided the Trojans past the Purples, 5-3, on Monday evening. Barren County never trailed in the game, and Potter brought it to a sudden conclusion by picking off Bowling Green’s Max Buchanon on first base, after the Purples brought the go-ahead run to the plate with one out in the top of the seventh.

Meyers, the Trojans’ strapping junior right-hander, set the tone by battling out of multiple jams before handing the ball to Potter with one out in the sixth. Barren County improved to 7-8 overall and 2-3 against KHSAA 4th Region opponents, while Bowling Green dropped to 16-1 and 3-1, respectively.

”I just tried to finish what Joey started,” Potter said. “I knew they were 16-0, but I wanted to challenge them … They hit the ball but our defense made the plays.”

That’s where the Purples had their problems.

Bowling Green pulled to within 3-2 in the top of the third inning. Max Buchanon lined a two-run, two-out single to right-center field, before Meyers avoided more significant damage. The Purples then took the field for the bottom of the third, and disaster struck in triplicate.

Three consecutive errors to open the inning foiled the Purples, along with a wild pitch from starting pitcher Logan Johnson. The Trojans scratched out two runs to extend their lead to 5-2, and Bowling Green wouldn’t score again until the top of the sixth, when the Purples’ Luke Idlett lined an RBI double to left-center field.

That brought Potter out of the Barren County bullpen, and the sophomore right-hander completed the task at hand.

“Really proud of our pitchers. They’ve been dogs for me since last year,” Barren County coach Derrick Alfonso said. “Guys you know are going to give you a chance. We know they like to bunt and run and put pressure on you, defensively, but that’s a big part of our game, too.”

The Purples practice on a freshly installed artificial surface, which all but eliminates bad-hop singles and the like. Barren County was able to put the ball in play against BGHS starter Logan Johnson in the bottom of the third, scoring two runs on a wild pitch and a throwing error. Bowling Green relievers Andru Jones and Landon Gilbert, both sophomores, worked one 1-2-3 inning each after Johnson’s departure, keeping the Purples within striking distance.

The Trojans’ pitching and defense was equal to the task.

“It’s a quick (playing) surface and the ball got up on us a couple times (in the third),” BGHS coach Adam Whitt said. “Give the credit to their pitchers. Nineteen of our 21 outs weren’t on the ground; they were either fly balls or strikeouts. That makes it tough.

“They beat us in the way we’ve won a lot of games this season.”

Barren County grabbed a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning.

Leadoff man John Parker Hyde lined a single to left field before Jacob Spence reached on a bunt single. Axel Dysholm slapped a single up the middle with one out, bringing two runs across the plate. Then, in the bottom of the second inning, the Trojans’ Jackson Reece unloaded a solo home run to left-center field.

It was Reece’s first home run of the season.

Barren County will play host to Monroe County on Friday night, and the Trojans will begin KHSAA 15th District competition next Monday at Warren East (8-7). Bowling Green will play its next three games on the road, including Thursday’s game against Glasgow High School and the 14th District opener against crosstown rival Greenwood High School (12-3).

Barren County isn’t scheduled to face the Purples again in the regular season, but neither Alfonso or Whitt will be surprised if they run into one another again in the KHSAA 4th Region Tournament at WKU’s Nick Denes Field in late May.

“We wanted to start (junior left-hander) Drew Isenberg (against Barren County), but he has a little bone bruise on his hand,” Whitt said. “We wanted to play it safe. We saw some good things from Logan Johnson, Andru Jones and Landon Gilbert.

“They were ‘cleaner’ than us, defensively. I don’t want the boys to look at the start, the winning streak, as the high point of the season. We’ve got a lot of baseball in front of us.”