PREP BASEBALL: Panthers top North Hardin, 6-1 (05/07)

-A A +A

E'town still in line for top seed

By Chuck Jones

By CHUCK JONES cjones@thenewsenterprise.com ELIZABETHTOWN — After beating John Hardin, 10-0 earlier Tuesday, the Elizabethtown Panthers didn’t have any time to celebrate. The Panthers had to turn around and play another 17th District foe – the North Hardin Trojans – to remain in the driver’s seat for the top seed in the upcoming postseason tournament. Tied 1-1 through four innings, Elizabethtown scored four runs in the bottom of the fifth to seize control and post a 6-1 victory over the Trojans at Panther Baseball Park. “Coach (Don) Pitts told us after we beat John Hardin that it doesn’t mean anything until we win the second game,” Elizabethtown junior Chris Gohman said. “North Hardin played a great game and battled us the whole way. Luckily the outcome was good for us.” The Panthers (20-7 overall) improved to 6-1 in district play and is tied with Central Hardin, which is also 6-1, for the top spot. They own the tiebreaker over the Bruins by virtue of their victory in the second meeting. “Any district win is tough but to try to win two games in the same night is a tough task,” Elizabethtown senior Ryan Lutz said. “We hit the ball well and we were playing well defensively. It’s a big lift to win both games.” Elizabethtown can lock up the No. 1 seed today with a win at Fort Knox. If Elizabethtown loses, Central Hardin would be the top seed if the Bruins beat John Hardin on Thursday. “We told them if we don’t win tomorrow these wins tonight don’t mean anything,” Pitts said. “Knox is playing as good as they have in a few years. We have to come out and play well.” Although the Trojans (3-21, 1-7) showed signs of improvement, North Hardin coach Greg Gumm said the big inning is still plaguing the team. “We find a way to not win,” Gumm said. “Alan (Fortier) did a real good job on the mound. He kept them off-balance which is what we wanted to do. But we have that one inning a game that hurts us. We’re getting better. We see some improvements. Everything can’t be measured by winning and losing.” Lutz earned the victory, working six innings. He gave up three hits, one walk and one unearned run, while striking out six. Gohman pitched the final inning, striking out three and walking two. “I felt good in the bullpen,” Lutz said. “I had a little more oomph on my fastball. Coach (Don) Mullins and I were talking about getting a bigger difference between my fastball and curveball. I could tell a difference tonight.” Gohman was the catalyst for the Panther offense. He produced a run-scoring single in the second and scored a run in the fifth and sixth innings. “Finally,” Gohman said. “It’s been awhile. I was trying to put it in play. I got a couple of little bloopers. I was getting hard hits early in the season but they were right at people. I guess I’m getting some make-up calls by the baseball Gods.” Fortier took the loss, allowing just three hits, but he walked six in 4 1/3 innings. Senior Ethan Hughes worked the final 1 2/3 innings, striking out four. Senior Desmond Goodman went 1-for-1 with a double, a run batted in and walk. Senior Mark Jones had a double and a run scored, while junior Tyler Perkins singled. “We stayed in it for four innings,” Goodman said. “We couldn’t get it going late. We just have to play all the way through the game. I think everyone is getting tired of losing.” With the score tied at 1-all, freshman Carter Elmore walked, Gohman singled and senior Sean Bouthilette walked to load the bases. Junior Zach Riney drove in Elmore with a sacrifice fly. Juniors Chase Greenwell and Micheal Thomas drew consecutive walks to force in Gohman. Bouthilette scored on a wild pitch and Greenwell came in on a passed ball to stake the Panthers to a 5-1 lead. Elizabethtown added an insurance run in the sixth when Gohman walked and later came in on a wild pitch. ELIZABETHTOWN 6, NORTH HARDIN 1                                                 R H E North Hardin            001   000 0 1 3 0 Elizabethtown           010   041   x 6 3 1 Alan Fortier, Ethan Hughes (5) and Ethan Hughes, Daniel Hickman (5). Ryan Lutz, Chris Gohman (7) and Micheal Thomas. WP: Lutz (5-1). LP: Fortier. 2B: Mark Jones (NH), Desmond Goodman (NH). UP NEXT: Elizabethtown plays at Fort Knox today at 5:30 p.m. North Hardin plays at Bullitt East at 5 p.m. Thursday. Chuck Jones can be reached at 505-1759