Frankfort High went from the lowest of the lows to the highest of the highs Tuesday night in baseball action against the Gallatin County Wildcats at Charlie Figg Field.
The host Panthers spotted the Wildcats a 4-0 lead in the top of the first inning, thanks to four errors, but then came back to win the game, 5-4, with a run in the bottom of the seventh, thanks to hard hit singles in their final at-bat by Jeffrey Quire and Dennis Martin, and a beautifully executed sacrifice bunt by Dre’ Scott.
Martin’s one-out single to left off Gallatin relief pitcher Bryson Caldwell was the game-winner.
“These kids just continue to amaze me,” Frankfort head coach Anthony Russell said after his team improved to 8-10. “They seemed like they were just careless and not wanting to do anything for half the game, and then they decide to put a little energy into the game and it feeds off each other. Next thing you know, we come back from a 4-nothing deficit to win 5-4 in the bottom of the seventh.”
The Panthers did it with solid pitching by committee. Quire started on the mound and was victimized by a FHS defense that treated the baseball like a greased pig roaming around on a Thursday, knowing he was going to be the special guest at a Friday night pig roast.
Still, Quire went two innings. He was relieved by A.J. Bramble, who also went two innings, and then Scott, who pitched the final three frames for the winners.
“I tell you what, our defense didn’t keep us in the game, and our hitting didn’t keep us in the game...our pitching kept us in it,” Russell said. “Jeffrey, in the first inning, we should have had seven outs. But he pitches two innings and then A.J. pitches two innings in behind Jeffrey, and then Dre’ holds them down over three good innings.
“They scored no more runs after the first. So today goes to the pitchers. And a senior (Martin), who had the big hit at the end to drive in the winning run in the seventh.”
There was a stretch in the Frankfort High fourth inning when it appeared the Panthers would not need late-game heroics.
The Panthers had three hits in the fourth – singles by Collin Harris, McKinley Stonewall and Conner Slone – plus a sacrifice fly ball by Cody Hall – but scored just one run out of it.
“We had several opportunities to get back in it,” Russell noted. “We made some base running errors and a couple other blunders.
“Still, we hung around,” Russell continued. “And I told the umpire and our coaches in the fourth inning, we’re going to win this game 5-4. I could see them starting to come back. And after the game the ump said, ‘You were right.’”
Stonewall and Slone had two singles each for the Panthers, and Martin, Harris, Ben Griffin and Quire had one single apiece.
Quinton O’Connor and Brady Hill had one single each for the 6-8 Wildcats, who blew a golden opportunity to break the game open in their half of the fourth inning.
Bramble walked the first three Gallatin batters in the fourth but got out of the bases-loaded jam. Chase O’Connor blooped what looked to be a two-run single towards right field, only to see Scott make a leaping grab and then throw to first base to complete a double play.
Bramble then struck out Quinton O’Connor.
Russell hopes the momentum from this game carries over to a big district game today at 5:30 against Woodford County, at Capitol View Park.
“We might show up and get a 10-0 lead on Woodford, or get behind 10-0,” Russell said. “You don’t know with this bunch. But, we’re moving in the right direction. A close win at home in the bottom of the seventh is always going to give you confidence.”