PREP BASEBALL: Elizabethtown downs Central, 2-0 (5/22)

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Lutz pickes up his eighth win of the season

By Chuck Jones

By CHUCK JONES cjones@thenewsenterprise.com CECILIA — In the game of baseball, sometimes it’s not how many hits a team gets but when it gets the hits that’s more important. Just ask the Elizabethtown Panthers. And for that matter, the Central Hardin Bruins. The Panthers used two two-out run-scoring singles in the bottom of the third to knock off the Bruins, 2-0 in the 17th District Tournament championship Wednesday at Central Hardin High School. “We were patient at the plate and got used to what he (Anthony Thorn) was throwing,” Elizabethtown junior Zach Riney said. “We put the ball in play. Those were big. Instead of trying to do something with it, we hit the ball where it was supposed to go.” Both teams advance to next week’s 5th Region Tournament, which will be held at Marion County High School. The draw will be held Saturday. Other teams in the field will be LaRue County, Green County, Nelson County, Washington County, Campbellsville and Adair County. In its district opener against North Hardin on Tuesday, Elizabethtown (26-9) struggled with runners on base, stranding 12 runners and needing extra innings to post a 1-0 victory in the eighth. With two outs in the third inning, senior Sean Bouthilette walked, stole second and came in on Riney’s single to center. After Riney stole second, junior Chase Greenwell lined a single to center to plate Riney and give Elizabethtown a 2-0 lead. “That’s something we didn’t do yesterday,” Elizabethtown coach Don Pitts said. “We didn’t get those hits with runners in scoring position. Those were two big two-out hits. That’s what it’s going to take to continue to advance in the postseason.” The Bruins (19-11) had their share of scoring opportunities, but left seven runners on base, including four in scoring position. In the top of the fifth, they loaded the bases with two outs, but Elizabethtown senior Ryan Lutz was able to end the threat with a flyout to right field. “It was a little frustrating,” Central Hardin senior Erik Stein said. “We couldn’t come through with a hit when we needed it. They got a couple of timely hits. That’s the difference in the ballgame. But we’ve got to look at this as a positive. We’re still going to the region. If you’re going to lose a game, this is the one to do it.” Despite winning their second consecutive district and fourth in the last five years, the Panthers downplayed the victory, preferring to set their sights on the region tournament. “This game doesn’t mean much,” Riney said. “Some of the guys were hyped up, but region is more important. I’m proud of the way we played. But it’s just a trophy.” Lutz pitched a gem to earn his eighth win of the season. He allowed four hits, three walks and one hit batter, while striking out two. “That’s a senior stepping up in a big game,” Pitts said. “He has a tendency to nibble around the plate, but I thought today he attacked the strike zone.” Lutz threw only 81 pitches, including a four-pitch inning in the fourth. All four hits he gave up were singles. “I knew coming in I was going to have to throw strikes,” Lutz said. “When I don’t, I get in a lot trouble. I knew I couldn’t give up a bunch of walks. It makes it so much easier when you’re defense is playing like they did today. That leads to me throws strikes because I know they’ll make the plays behind me.” Elizabethtown’s defense was stellar, making only one error and that was an errant pick-off throw by Lutz. Lutz induced 10 groundouts and seven flyouts. “We knew Central would put the ball in play and we just had to back our pitcher up,” Greenwell said. “Ryan was pitching a good game, so we had to make the plays for him.” Thorn, a junior right-hander, took the hard-luck loss. He gave up five hits – all singles – and three walks. He struck out three. “He pitched an excellent game,” Central Hardin coach Todd Thompson said. “He did exactly what we asked him to do. In that third inning, it was bang-bang-bang and just like that they had two runs. It was very timely hitting. What can you say? That’s baseball. “I think we pressed a little too hard (at the plate),” he added. “They wanted it so much, so it’s hard to fault someone for that. I’m proud of my boys. I’m their biggest fan.” ELIZABETHTOWN 2, Central Hardin 0                                                 R H E Central Hardin          000   000 0 0 4 0 Elizabethtown           002   000   x 2 5 1 Anthony Thorn and Jeremy Barr. Ryan Lutz and Micheal Thomas. WP: Lutz (8-2). LP: Thorn (5-3). 17TH DISTRICT ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAM CENTRAL HARDIN: Andrew Doughty, Joe Nash and Chris Nichols. ELIZABETHTOWN: Sean Bouthilette, Chase Greenwell, Ryan Lutz and Zach Riney. FORT KNOX: Kyle Gramig. JOHN HARDIN: Cody Mitchell and Paul Pickerrell. NORTH HARDIN: Levi Duncan and Desmond Goodman. Chuck Jones can be reached at 505-1759