REYNOLDS WRAPPED/Scrappy South Warren battles back to slip past Bowling Green, 4-2


Drew Isenberg and the Bowling Green High School’s baseball team were putting up some zeroes on Monday evening at Harry J. Stihl Field.

Trouble is, fellow left-hander Mikey Coradini and visiting South Warren High School were doing the same.

Bowling Green struck first, in the critical KHSAA 14th District matchup, by striking for two runs in the bottom of the fifth inning.

Then the Spartans’ bats came to life, and South coach Chris Gage turned to WKU commit Ethan Reynolds to complete the task at hand.

Reynolds, the junior star infielder/outfielder/pitcher, moved from center field to the mound for the bottom of the sixth inning, after the Spartans had tied the game at 2. He figured in another South Warren rally before battling out of trouble in the bottom of the seventh inning, sealing the Spartans’ 4-2 victory over their crosstown rivals.

South Warren, which grabbed its first lead on Ty Croghan’s two-run double to right field in the top of the seventh, improved to 13-10 overall and 3-0 in the KHSAA’s 14th District. Bowling Green, a Top 10 squad in virtually every high school poll across the Commonwealth, dropped to 19-3 overall and 1-2 in district play.

Reynolds, a key cog in last year’s KHSAA state quarterfinalist squad, faced the Purples’ Reid Buser with two men on and two outs in the bottom of the seventh. Buser hit a shot to the wall in left-center field, but the Spartans’ Brady Hester made the play to finish the game.

The rematch is Tuesday evening at South Warren. First pitch us scheduled for 6 p.m.

“For some reason, I seem to pitch better on (artificial) turf mounds,” Reynolds said with a shrug. “It’s kind of a personal preference.”

Bowling Green unveiled its completely artificial turf field about six weeks ago, and the Purples went 16-0 before losing to Barren County, 5-3, on April 8 in Glasgow. Bowling Green is now 3-3 in its last six games, and Purples coach Adam Whitt said it really isn’t much of a mystery why that’s happened.

“We got smoked in the ‘freebie war,'” Whitt said. “Committed four errors, walked a couple guys in a key situation late, a hit batter or two … We’re not good enough to beat good teams like South Warren if we can’t win the ‘freebie war.’

“After the lefty (South starter Mikey Coradini), it made sense to go with their hardest thrower. Ethan Reynolds came in and did a good job.”

Reynolds earned the victory on the mound — artificial turf or otherwise — while improving to 5-1 on the season. At the plate, Reynolds is almost without peer, flirting with a .500 batting average, with 15 extra-base hits and a team-high 30 RBI.

(To be fair, South Warren sophomore McLaine Hudson is having an otherworldly season in fast-pitch softball. Hudson is batting .679 and has hit 14 home runs in just 24 games. She also has driven in a team-high 45 runs while striking out just three times. South’s softball team takes a 23-1 overall record into a KHSAA 14th District game with Bowling Green on Tuesday evening. First pitch is scheduled for 5:30 p.m.)

South Warren baseball coach Chris Gage guided the Spartans to a 27-10 season last year, falling short in the KHSAA state quarterfinals, 7-4, at the hands of eventual state champion Whitley County. The Spartans had to replace the bulk of that squad’s lineup, outside infielders Ethan Reynolds and Griffin Rardin, so Gage is quick to call his team a “work in progress.”

“We did a good job of battling tonight,” Gage said. “Two good pitchers (South’s Mikey Coradini and the Purples’ Drew Isenberg) goin’ at it … Isenberg is a very good pitcher. You just have to make adjustments and capitalize on opportunities.

“We lost seven really important pieces from that team last year. Ethan’s a great kid. When one of your best players is your hardest worker, that’s a good thing.”

Bowling Green’s Reid Buser staked his team to a 2-0 lead with an RBI double to the left-field corner with two outs in the fifth. South Warren bounced back to tie the game, almost immediately, on Jaxen Decker’s two-run single up the middle with two outs in the sixth.

The Spartans made it 4-2 on Ty Crogher’s two-run double off the fence in right field, before BGHS reliever Jackson Idlett retired the side, and Reynolds gave up two walks in the seventh, bringing the winning run to the plate with two outs in Buser.

Buser hit a shot to the left-center field fence, but the Spartans’ Brady Hester made the catch to end it.

“I saw their right fielder playing in, a little bit,” Croghan said. “My first two at bats, I didn’t perform well. I’ve been working on turning on the ball …”

Decker intervened at that point.

“Ty’s been lifting (weights) … like Ethan,” Decker said with a grin.

The Spartans and Purples will do more of the heavy lifting on Tuesday evening. BGHS coach Adam Whitt is expected to start senior right-hander Max Buchanon (3-1, 3.25 ERA), while the Spartans’ Chris Gage said he’s still evaluating his options.