Alex Castlen, Luke Evans and E Munsey drove in two runs apiece to lead No. 6 Owensboro Catholic to a 9-5 district baseball victory against Apollo on a cool Wednesday night at Eagle Park.
Evans finished 2-for-4 and plated a pair of runs in the leadoff spot for Catholic (20-4, 4-0 in 9th District), while Munsey went 2-for-3 with a run. Castlen also scored a pair of runs, John Michael Frey went 2-for-3 with a double, two runs and an RBI, and Braden Mundy added a pair of hits.
Aces coach Jody Hamilton commended his team’s offensive approach afterward.
“We had some good swings all the way through the lineup,” he said. “The top of the lineup came through, they swung it real well, they had good at-bats. They’re older kids and more experienced, and they’re able to do that.”
The Eagles (18-11, 2-4) opened scoring in the bottom of the first inning when Harrison Bowman reached safely on a dropped third strike and later scored on Nick Judd’s RBI groundout.
Catholic responses in the top of the second, with Castlen getting on with a leadoff error and scoring on Frey’s RBI base hit.
Two more runs in the top of the third — RBI singles by Munsey and Sam McFarland — briefly gave the Aces a 3-1 lead before Apollo came roaring back in the bottom of the frame. Bowman hit an RBI base hit and Nick Judd clubbed a two-run single to give the Eagles a 4-3 edge.
From there, however, Catholic scored six runs across the fourth and fifth innings to seize control.
The Aces got RBIs from Evans and Munsey to take a 5-3 lead through four innings, followed by a two-RBI single from Castlen and a pair of bases-loaded walks drawn by Evans and Munsey in the fifth.
The Eagles scored a run in the bottom of the seventh when Dayton Brown singled and later scored on an Aces error. Apollo couldn’t generate any more runs from there, though.
Hayden Ward earned the pitching win for Catholic after striking out nine batters and walking one while giving up two earned runs and scattering five hits in 62/3 innings. Apollo’s Noah Cook was saddled with the loss after giving up eight earned runs and striking out six batters with two walks and nine hits in 4 2/3 innings. Both teams had to overcome a trio of errors, as well.
“I thought Hayden did a good job,” Hamilton said. “He had pretty good stuff. We kicked it around a little bit.
“I like the way we battled. I like the Cook kid, I thought he was a really nice pitcher. They’ve got nice players, we’ve got nice players, it was a good ball game. I think we had some really good timely hitting.”
Bowman finished with two hits, a triple and two runs for Apollo, Judd drove in three runs, and Brown scored twice.
Eagles coach Mason Head said he saw glimpses of what he wants his team to become, but it’s not fully there just yet.
“I’m waiting or us to play a clean seven [innings],” he said. “We haven’t done that enough. Cook pitched well. They hit him, but Cook pitched well enough to give us a chance to win. Our defense didn’t back him up the way we wanted to back him up. With that said, you can’t take anything away from what Catholic did at the plate tonight. Their two-strike approach was phenomenal.
“(Catholic) played great defense, they pitched the ball well, they played a clean game. We played an OK game. Against a team like that, you can’t play anything less than almost perfect. They’re too good to give anything away. They’re going to earn enough on their own without us giving freebies away.”
Catholic returns to action Thursday with a district tilt at Daviess County, while Apollo will travel to Henry Clay on Saturday.
OWENSBORO CATHOLIC 012 240 0 — 9 10 3
APOLLO 103 000 1 — 5 5 3
WP Ward. LP-Cook. 2B-Frey (OC). 3B-Bowman (A).