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Needing a win to stay alive in the district race, the North Oldham took a huge step closer to securing the 29th District’s No. 1 seed Tuesday night, dispatching Oldham County 7-1 to move to 4-1 in district play.
The Mustangs didn’t waste any time getting started, plating one run in the bottom of the inning on a sacrifice fly from catcher Peter Sohn.
They added two more in the bottom of the second following an error and a bases-loaded walk.
The Colonels would get their chance in the top of the third inning, loading the bases with no outs, but North starter Ethan Cleary escaped the jam with a fielder’s choice at home, a pickoff at first base and a lazy pop fly to second base.
North Oldham added three more runs two innings later as two runs scored via error and one following a bunt from Roman Millem.
Oldham County did manage to salvage a run in the top of the sixth when a sacrifice fly from Austin Norman scored Cam Thomas, but that’s as close as they got as Caleb Kellogg came on in the top of the seventh to close out the game.
“This was clean baseball,” North Oldham coach Erik Phelps said. “That was what was good. I really like where we are and where we’re going.
“This is a really young group but they’re extremely coachable. They pay attention to all of the little things and these guys hold each other accountable. We keep learning from our mistakes. I like where we are.”
Cleary allowed just three hits in six innings of work to earn the win.
“He is a competitor,” Phelps said. “He fell behind in the first couple of innings and wasn’t throwing first-pitch strikes, but then he made the adjustments. We talked about that since South. It doesn’t matter what you think it is, you have to deal with the umpire.”
As for what the game means to the bigger picture, the win adds an extra layer of intrigue to tonight’s (Thursday) rematch.
Should the Mustangs win, the regular season district crown will be theirs outright. Should they lose, it becomes a toss-up between OC and South Oldham based on runs allowed.
Assuming South Oldham shuts out Trimble County and OC allows more than six runs, the crown will then go to the Dragons.
But if OC wins the game and allows less than six runs, they grab both the title and a first-round matchup with Trimble County in the 29th district tournament.
More than anything, Oldham County coach Scott Gerlach said his guys are ready to get back on the field after suffering two straight district losses.
“We’ll get better,” Gerlach said. “By no means are we out of this. We still get one game at our place. We’re going to give them a run.”
North and Oldham County return to the field today, traveling to Buckner for a 5:30 p.m. game to to close out the district schedule.
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