PRICE EARNS THE SAVE AFTER YOUNG’s UNASSISTED DOUBLE PLAY AT THE PLATE
Bowling Green High School seemed to have the upper hand for much of the game, but the resourceful Warren East Raiders had no sense of panic.
After all, this is a veteran East team that captured the KHSAA’s 14th District Tournament last May, stopping its crosstown rival 4-3 in the title game at South Warren High School.
Then the Raiders were the runner-up to Russell Springs in the KHSAA’s 4th Region Tournament, going 24-10 overall with a collective eye on their future.
Now veteran East coach Wes Shaver and his squad move over to the Glasgow-based 15th District, where the Raiders loom as the likely favorite. And Bowling Green’s Nathan Isenberg has had to retool a bit after losing nine seniors from last year’s 25-10 squad.
That was the backdrop for Thursday night’s game at Warren East, which kept it close before going ahead by two runs in the bottom of the sixth inning. BGHS sophomore Nathan Isenberg opened the top of the seventh with a leadoff walk, and the Purples loaded the bases with one out when East reliever Tray Price struggled with his location.
Price struck out the Purples’ Max Buchanon, with the bases loaded and one out, and Warren East catcher Drake Young ended it with an alert play, retrieving the third strike in front of the plate before applying the tag on Drew Isenberg to end the game.
Warren East 5, Bowling Green 3.
“I wasn’t exactly sure what happened,” Young said with a grin. “It kind of happened all of a sudden.”
Young tied the game at 3 with a sacrifice fly to right-center field in the bottom of the fifth inning, and the Raiders went ahead for good in the sixth. East’s Maddox Torrance came up with an RBI single off Purples reliever Max Buchanon, and the Raiders’ Chase Carver made it 5-3 with an RBI grounder.
The Purples out-hit Warren East, 7-5, but Bowling Green was haunted by three errors and missed opportunities at the plate.
“(Warren East is) a very good team,” Nathan Isenberg said. “We’ve still got some growing pains to go through.”
Warren East evened its record at 2-2 while the Purples dropped to 1-2 on the season.
“We are making a lot of mistakes,” East coach Wes Shaver said. “We’re a senior-leaden team, so we shouldn’t be making those kinds of mistakes … (Bowling Green is) still going to be a good team. They always are.
“This isn’t a district game any more, so we weren’t going to pull out all the stops. We’ve got so many seniors (10), but we’re still trying to figure out who can do what.”
Warren East left-hander Tanner Goad, who worked the first six innings on the mound, was the winning pitcher. Buchanon took the loss for the Purples.
Shaver normally likes to go with a 70-pitch limit early in the season, but Goad was so effective he kept him in the game through six innings, and approximately 80 pitches.
“We thought we could stretch (Goad) a little,” Shaver said. “They had us on the ropes.”
Bowling Green’s Dillon Maners put the Purples in front 3-2 with an RBI double to the right-field corner in the top of the fifth, but Drake Young’s sacrifice fly tied it at 3 in the bottom half.
In the sixth, Nathan Isenberg walked the bases loaded to pitch to East’s Maddux Torrance, who lined a single to center field to make it 4-3. Carver managed to put the ball in play, just in front of the plate, but it was good enough for an insurance run the Raiders would need in the seventh.
“I felt a little disrespected. In my mind, I was going to hit the ball,” Torrance said.
Bowling Green is scheduled to play host to Glasgow High School on Friday evening, but heavy rain and possible severe weather seems to have that matchup in doubt. The Purples get another shot at Warren East on May 8, about a week or so before the KHSAA’s 14th District Tournament.
Warren East, meanwhile, resumes its schedule on Tuesday on the road against Logan County.