PURPLES PREVAIL/Isenberg guides Bowling Green past Greenwood, 4-2; rematch Tuesday at BGHS


Drew Isenberg and the Bowling Green High School baseball team have put together a winning formula.

Throw strikes, make the routine plays on defense, strike when opportunities come at the plate.

That’s what the Purples did in knocking off Greenwood High School, 4-2, in their KHSAA 14th District opener at Corey Hart Ballpark. Bowling Green improved to 18-1 overall, the best record in the KHSAA’s 4th Region, while the Gators aren’t far behind at 14-4 overall. The Purples will play host to Greenwood in the rematch of the two-game series on Tuesday.

First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m.

“All of our guys have done a good job throwing strikes,” BGHS coach Adam Whitt said.

Isenberg scattered seven hits and two walks over the course of 6 2/3 innings pitched, and BGHS shortstop Ben Davenport moved to the mound to complete the task at hand. Davenport retired Greenwood’s Chaze Huff on a retired third strike, stranding base runners on the corners after the Gators brought the winning run to the plate.

Isenberg remained unbeaten in six decisions while Davenport earned his third save. Greenwood’s Zach Davis dropped to 2-1 on the season, pitching four solid innings before yielding to Gators reliever Nathan Howard.

“Livin’ low … living low in the (strike) zone,” Isenberg said with a grin. “I just tried to get in a groove, make ’em earn it.”

The Purples manufactured most of their offense and never trailed in the game. Second baseman Evan Schallert led off the game with a line-drive single to right field and moved into scoring position on Isenberg’s sacrifice to the right side. After BGHS catcher Ethan Madison was walked on four pitches, teammate Max Buchanon also walked, loading the bases with one out in the first inning.

Schallert scored on Reid Buser’s sacrifice fly to right field, but Davis battled out of further trouble. Buser added an RBI single to right field in the top of the third, putting the Purples in front, 2-0.

Buchanon made a tough play on a sinking line drive along the right-field line in the bottom of the second inning, as Isenberg was retiring nine consecutive Greenwood batters. Buchanon came up with another defensive gem in the fourth, leaving the Gators’ Chaze Huff in scoring position. Greenwood’s James Russell was retired on a fly ball to center field to end the threat.

“Our pitching’s been good, all year. Drew was throwing strikes,” BGHS infielder Luke Idlett said.

The Purples were the beneficiary of a couple disputed calls at second base, and the Gators didn’t get on the scoreboard until the bottom of the sixth. Drake Bowers led off the inning with a looping double to the right-field corner, and after Davenport retired Huff on a grounder for the first out, Andrew Jolley’s towering pop fly fell between three BGHS defenders. That scored Bowers for the Gators’ first run of the game.

“We had some small mistakes, that could cost in big games later on,” Purples catcher Ethan Madison said.

It was a tough loss for Greenwood coach Jason Jaggers and the Gators. Their six-game winning streak was snapped at the hands of a traditional rival.

“I’m proud of my guys; they kept fighting,” Jaggers said. “We’ve got to overcome (bad breaks), to be honest. It’s disappointing. We put a lot of good swings on the ball.”

BGHS first baseman Luke Idlett, however, may have had the most critical at bat in the game.

After BGHS teammate Harrison Yates scored on a wild pitch, Idlett faked a bunt attempt and slapped an RBI single to a wide-open right side, bringing Ben Davenport across the plate and extending the Purples’ lead to 4-0.

Those were runs Bowling Green would need in the long run.

“Coach (Whitt) gave me the sign (from the third-base coaching box). We call it ‘the slash,'” Idlett said. “You’ve got to put it in play, try to hit it on the ground.”

“It ended up being the difference,” Whitt said.

Neither Whitt nor Jaggers was ready to commit to a starting pitcher for Tuesday’s game. The Purples’ opponents, however, might want to get used to Drew Isenberg, the lithe lefty, on the mound.

“He’s going to get the ball in big situations,” Whitt said.