Boyle baseball team building momentum with early wins
Published 8:00 am Friday, March 24, 2023
The close games were good for them, but the Boyle County Rebels will take a breather now and then, too.
They got one Tuesday when they put a handful of crooked numbers on the scoreboard to defeat Campbellsville 13-3 in five innings.
Boyle had its best offensive game of the young baseball season, and the Rebels said that kind of offensive production is the key to making this the kind of season they hope it will be.
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“It’s for sure going to be the bats,” Boyle pitcher-infielder Kason Myers said. “We hit the ball well today, but it needs to stay like this the rest of the season.”
Boyle (4-0) had two walk-off wins among three victories decided by two runs or less, but on Tuesday the Rebels combined a season-high nine hits with eight walks and four Campbellsville errors for a mercy-rule win.
Boyle coach Adam Blair said the Rebels have made some changes to their hitting approach in recent days, and on Tuesday they took pregame batting practice on the field rather than in the batting cage.
“You know baseball coaches are very superstitious, so we tried to change some things that aren’t working,” Blair said. “Our bats were better today. We’ve been getting hits, but I feel like we haven’t been getting a lot of timely hits.”
Cameron Owens had three hits and scored four runs and Myers and Cole Sims had two hits each for Boyle. All three had extra-base hits, including Myers’ first home run of the season.
“We’re starting off slow but we’re winning games. If we start hitting the ball we’ve got a lot of upside,” Sims said.
Boyle has won more than 20 games in four of the past five seasons. The Rebels went 24-8-1 last year, when their season ended with a one-run loss to West Jessamine in the first round of the 12th Region Tournament.
When this season began, however, they were regarded as one of the top teams in the 12th Region, and perhaps the area’s top team. Blair said there is reason for optimism, but he is also doing his best to keep his players focused on small victories that can add up to a big season.
“Every day we tell them to win the day and win each inning. Records don’t matter; our goal is to get prepared for the district and then move on,” he said. “Early on there’s been a lot of promising things, and I think if things come together we’re going to be a pretty solid group.”
Among the positives: The defense has been sound, and a pitching staff that lost seniors who were Nos. 1 and 2 in innings last season is gaining confidence as a result.
“Our defense is where we want it to be, but we want to keep getting better,” Myers said.
Additionally, new leaders are emerging and helping young players make the transition to playing every day at the varsity level.
“Young guys are getting in and learning situations,” Sims said.
Boyle is using as many as 15 players, including pinch-hitters and pinch-runners, and Blair said players have bought into their roles.
“It’s been a huge team effort,” he said. “A lot of guys are getting in and understanding that no role is too small or too big. … No matter what their role that day is, if it’s pitching or running the bases, they take it really seriously and that’s going to make us really good in the long run.”
Myers drove in four runs, Sage Dawson drove in three and Sims drove in two in the win over Campbellsville (4-1).
Winning pitcher Sims and reliever Logan Marsee combined to allow only one earned run on four hits.
Boyle led 6-0 after two innings and scored three runs each in the fourth and fifth in their first easy win of the season.
The Rebels’ other wins came by scores of 6-5, 6-4 and 2-1, and Blair said those games will be good for them as well.
“We’ve had some tight games … and hopefully that’ll prepare us for district play. It’s always easy to hit when you’re up by four or five runs.”
However, they’re hoping Tuesday’s game marked the start of an offensive trend that will continue next week when they host a Kentucky 2A Championships sectional tournament – they play Mercer County on Monday – and as they move into district play next month.
“We started the season kind of slow on offense, but it looks like it’s starting to pick up and hopefully we’ll continue that trend,” pitcher-designated hitter Bryan Moore said.