St. Henry’s CJ Johnson pitches in relief against Boone County during their baseball game, Sunday.
After losing some power from the middle of his lineup last season, Boone County coach Wayne Huff knows his team is going to have to be efficient at the plate and crafty on the basepaths in order to score runs this year.
Sunday afternoon the Rebels beat St. Henry 4-1 at P&G Cincinnati MLB Urban Youth Academy as part of the Skyline Chili Reds Futures High School Showcase by pushing across four runs on four hits. Sophomore shortstop Colin Teegarden received Most Valuable Player honors from the event after going 1-for-1 with a double, two runs scored and swiping a pair of stolen bases.
“We’re not going to hit homeruns this year,” Huff said. “We already have one, and it might be the last one we hit all year. We just have to do our jobs – get a guy on, get him over, and get him in. That’s how we’ll score runs.”
Teegarden put the Rebels on the board in the top of the first inning when he laced a leadoff double into right center field, moved to third on a wild pitch and then scored on a sacrifice fly by three-hole hitter Jeffrey Purnell.
St. Henry tied it up in the bottom of the inning on a single into right center by Will Brady that brought Joseph Kroger around to score. On a day where offense was scarce for the Crusaders, Brady finished 2-for-3 with a double and an RBI.
While competing with temperatures in the low 40s and swirling winds, Boone County’s pitching staff was outstanding. Junior starter Ethan Elmore allowed just two hits while striking out four and walking two in four innings of work.
“Our pitchers did a really good job today,” Huff said. “We have a pretty deep staff. They’re not the type of pitchers that are going to blow guys away and rack up 10 strikeouts a game. They pitch to contact, and if we play defense then it usually works out.”
Teegarden manufactured the go-ahead run for the Rebels in the top of the third. He walked, stole second and then came around to score on a ground out by Trevin Works.
The Rebels added insurance runs in the top of the fifth and the seventh innings. Daniel Dahms started off the fifth with a single into left field before coming around to score on a sacrifice fly by Works. He then scored again in the seventh on a wild pitch after singling up the middle.
Junior Kenton Hibbard replaced Elmore before the top of the fifth, and picked up the save by pitching three scoreless innings while allowing three hits and striking out three.
Hibbard, who began the game at first base, was one of two new starters for the Rebels this year that was in Sunday’s lineup, with the other being Dahms. Huff said he’s been very pleased with the way those inexperienced guys had stepped up so far.
“The younger guys, first year starters have surprised me,” Huff said. “They came right into the lineup and they’re doing a heckuva job.”
Teegarden erased St. Henry’s only comeback threat with two men on in the bottom of the sixth when he showed his range up the middle, slid to his left to snag a sharp grounder, and then got up and fired a dart to first.
Boone, ranked ninth in the latest Enquirer area coaches’ poll, is off to a 5-1 start with its only loss coming to Lexington Lafayette, ranked 13th in the preseason Kentucky High School Baseball Coaches’ Association poll. The Rebels also beat the No. 16 ranked team in the state, Ballard, last week.
W-Elmore; L-Oldfield. Leaders: BC-Teegarden 1-1, 2B, 2R; Dahms 2-3, 2 R. SH-Brady 2-3, 2B 1 RBI. Records: BC 5-1, SH 2-2.