For The Independent
Russell is keeping scoreboard operators busy the past couple of weeks.
Using a big first inning and the steady arm of Joel Mullen, the Red Devils routed Bath County, 12-2, in five innings on Friday night at Russell High School.
It was Russell’s fourth win in a row and fifth in its last six games. The Devils have averaged 10.8 runs during that time frame.
Russell coach Mike Martino attributes his team’s recent success to timely hitting with runners in scoring position, something it didn’t do early in the season.
“Our young guys are getting on base and our older guys are knocking them in,” claimed Martino. “It’s a great combination.”
It was Bath County’s first loss inside the 16th Region after the Wildcats won their first eight games. The 12 runs Russell tallied were the most the Wildcats have given up all season. They had allowed 36 runs all season until Friday.
“This game was huge for us,” said Martino. “We have really been hitting the ball well the last couple of weeks. We came up big today. Those hits were rips.”
Mullen turned in another strong pitching performance. The right-hander kept Bath County off-balanced for most of the game with his display of offspeed pitches.
“My curveball was working well tonight,” said Mullen. “I was hitting my corners really well.”
The senior recorded three strikeouts while only giving up one free pass and two runs.
“That’s the second good outing he has had in a row,” said his coach.
“As a senior pitcher, I felt like it was on me to get the win,” added Mullen.
Russell (11-10) built an early eight-run lead as 12 batters came to the plate in the first inning.
Troy Huffine started the scoring with a double over the centerfielder’s head bringing in the game’s first two runs. Not to be outdone, J.D. Pridemore followed with a double of his own down the left-field line that sent Huffine home.
Later in the first, after an error and a couple of walks, Bryant Cathey delivered a bases-loaded triple into the right-field gap. Bobby May singled in Cathey with his second plate appearance of the inning.
The bases were loaded again in the third inning when May ripped a single that found the hole between the shortstop and the third baseman. The Devils scored two and added another in the fourth.
Bath County (12-5) lengthened the game temporarily after Russell took a commanding lead into the fifth inning.
Trailing 11-0, Clark Kissick, set to be a walk-on for UK football in the fall, ripped a two-run single to right field.
The hitting display continued in the bottom half of the inning for the Devils, though, as May reached base again with the help of an error. Heath Hensley singled to move May to second. Huffine followed with a game-ending base hit to seal the victory.
Huffine and May both went 2-for-4 for the game with 3 RBIs.
“I have had some bad starts in the past so this year I have working more on hitting in the offseason,” said Huffine. “It has carried over into the middle of the season.”
Russell will look to extend its winning streak on the road today at Johnson Central.
BATH CO. 000 02 — 2 6 3
RUSSELL 802 11 — 12 11 2
Kissick, Highley (1), Newtown (4) and Whitt; Mullen and Cathey. W—Mullen (R) L—Kissick (BC). 2B—Kissick (BC), Huffine (R), Pridemore (R). 3B—Cathey (R).