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The Panthers struck out during this season’s spring break trip, dropping three straight games March 31-April 1. Carroll lost to Edmonson County (6-5), Bullitt Central (10-4) and John Hardin (10-2) in the General Spring Break Bash at Thomas Nelson High School.
But despite the final scores, head coach Jimmy Ray said the trip was a learning experience for his team and their team goals are still very attainable.
“The good thing about the whole tournament is we scored a run at the end of every game, so that shows we didn’t give up,” he said.
The Panthers began last Tuesday against Bullitt Central. Ray said four players were late to the bus, so he sat them out. This gave some of the younger players an opportunity to get on the field. While he was without a handful of starters, Ray said the team was still good enough to win the game.
Freshman Seth Hicks threw a no-hitter for four innings. But he also threw deep into the count, and his arm got sore. Keifer McIntyre came in after the first batter in the top of the fifth. Bullitt Central scored seven runs in the inning, and Carroll was not able to recover. Justin Ray and Evan McMahan also made appearances on the mound.
The Panthers tied the game at one apiece in the bottom of the second inning, as Taylor Hill and McMahan singled. Jackson “Boo” Donahue reached on a bunt single, and Alex Burns drew a walk to score Hill.
In the bottom of the fourth, Hill was hit by a pitch, and Burns hit a two-out double to center for another RBI, 2-1.
The Panthers scored two runs in the bottom of the seventh, as Burns singled and Austin Dunn hit a two-out double to center for the RBI. Seth Hicks singled and Zakk Hicks walked to load the bases for McIntyre, who earned an RBI walk.
Dunn led the team at the plate, going 3-4 with a single, two doubles and an RBI, and Burns was 2-2 with a single, double and walk.
After what Ray said was one of their worst games of the season, the Panthers turned things around against John Hardin.
Things got off to a shaky start, as the Bulldogs scored four runs to begin the game. Carroll committed an error on the first batter, which changed the entire first inning, Ray said.
The Panthers got on the board in the top of the fifth inning, as Jacob Wise singled and stole second and third bases. Ray hit an RBI single to centerfield, and Dunn followed with a double, but the rally ended there.
The Bulldogs scored three runs in both the fifth and sixth innings. Carroll managed one more run in the top of the seventh as Wise leadoff with a double. Seth Hicks hit a two-out single to score Wise, but the Panthers could not add any more runs.
Ray said the team played pretty decent against the Bulldogs and accumulated seven hits, but they could not string together a run.
While the tournament may not appear successful, Ray said the team learned from the experience and worked on their team chemistry. The Bullitt Central game also allowed some of the less experienced players to get on the field, which will help the team in the long run, he said.
Moving forward, Ray said he wants his team to be more consistent and improve on their focus, defense and enthusiasm.
Carroll’s home game against Marshall County was rained out. The Panthers travel to Switzerland County Tuesday before taking on Owen County in the All ‘A’ Classic at home Thursday. The winner will play again Saturday at Walton-Verona.