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The Washington County Commanders wrapped up a busy week with a perfect showing in the first-ever Breast Cancer Awareness Invitational in Marion County this past weekend.
The Commanders went 3-0 in the event.
WC head coach Derek Schuler described his team’s performance against the LaRue County Hawks last Saturday as “a real feel-good win.”
Earlier in the season, Schuler thinks his team might have reacted differently facing a 2-0 deficit headed into the sixth inning.
But this time around, his team was able to overcome any anxiety and outscored LaRue 6-1 in the final two innings to come away with the 6-3 win.
The Commanders had three players record multi-hit games: junior Justin Shelton, senior Travis Mattingly and freshman Garrett Floyd.
Sophomore Trae Coulter led the team with three RBI on 1-of-3 hitting.
On the mound, senior Adam Smith was able to record the win after pitching 6 1/3 innings.
He gave up one earned run and struck out three batters. Mattingly finished the game to pick up the save.
The win was the third in a row for the Commanders, who were also the only squad to win every game in the Save Second Base--Strike Out Cancer Invitational.
“We’re finally starting to see what this team can do when they’re clicking, and I’m happy for them,” Schuler said.
Saturday’s game against the Allen County-Scottsville Patriots served as a test for the Commanders, a chance to see how much they had improved by facing off against a team that had beaten them 11-0 early in the year.
And WC passed with flying color, picking up a definitive 9-3 victory over the Patriots.
“We’ve gotten progressively better all year,” Schuler said. “Our team has stayed positive all year, and that is what you look for in your team, the ability to stay mentally focused while improving at the same time.”
Junior Wade Moore picked up the win on the mound, throwing four strikeouts and only allowing one earned run.
Shelton went a perfect 4-of-4 at the plate while scoring a third of his team’s runs.
Against the Marion County Knights on Friday evening, WC was able to avenge another early-season loss by defeating their rivals by a score of 7-5. Marion won the teams’ first game by a score of 4-3 in late March.
A 12-hit explosion sparked the Commander offense, but those hits didn’t start to translate into runs until the fourth inning, when they plated five runners and took command of the game.
WC didn’t look back after taking a second-inning lead and rode a strong performance on the mound from Coulter, who tossed all seven frames for the Commanders. He struck out four and allowed four earned runs in the contest.
WC had five players record multi-hit games: Moore, Coulter, Smith and juniors Christopher Mann and Jacob Howard.
Despite the game being tied 1-1 in the fourth inning, the Commanders’ lack of offense cost them in last week’s 5-2 loss to the Nelson County Cardinals.
Facing Nelson’s senior pitcher Jared Proctor, a UK signee, WC was only able to produce two hits (Smith and Mann) and was struck out 16 times on the evening.
Mattingly picked up the loss, allowing three earned runs in 3 1/3 innings of work.
Mattingly drove in four runs against the Elizabethtown Panthers, but his strong performance at the plate wasn’t enough for WC to come away with the win, losing 8-5.
Floyd and Shelton added two-hit games for the Commanders, but the entire squad was only able to muster as many hits as the Panthers had runs.
After heading into the fourth inning with a tied score, Elizabethtown would break the game open with a four-run frame, which would prove to be the difference in the game.
Mattingly picked up the loss on the mound, allowing seven earned runs on 11 hits in 3 2/3 innings of work.
WC was scheduled to play Bardstown after press time on Tuesday evening. Their next game is listed for today, as they’ll travel to North Bullitt High School barring inclement weather.