High School Sports

Baseball: Tates Creek beats Henry Clay to cap city sweep

Henry Clay's Justin Warren slid safely into third as Tates Creek's Blake Rose leaped for a high throw.
Henry Clay's Justin Warren slid safely into third as Tates Creek's Blake Rose leaped for a high throw. Herald-Leader

The scoreboard was on the fritz at Tates Creek's baseball field on Saturday afternoon, but the Commodores didn't need it to tell them they were winners this past week.

Tates Creek clipped Henry Clay 9-2 to cap a rousing run of four victories over four city foes in five days.

The No. 11 Commodores beat No. 16 Paul Laurence Dunbar, No. 2 Lexington Catholic and No. 15 Lexington Christian in district games, thanks in large part to complete-game pitching performances from seniors Caleb Johnson, Aaron Mitchell and Nick Richmond.

Cody Bronaugh, a senior left-hander, worked five innings and got the non-district win over Henry Clay. Austin Block worked the last two innings in relief.

"It's great," Tates Creek senior catcher Nathan Black said of the city sweep. "It's the best feeling I've had since I've played here, except for maybe my sophomore year when we went to the regional.

"Our pitching staff is amazing right now."

The Commodores have also benefited from an efficient offense — they won the four games by a combined 27-4 — and solid defense

"It was a fun week," said senior JaVon Shelby, who's been terrific in center field and also had two hits, two RBI and a run in the win over Henry Clay.

"We came out hungry and humble."

(Shelby had a two-run homer and four RBI in the Commodores' 5-1 win over Clark County on Saturday night.)

Tates Creek looked flat in the early going against the Blue Devils. Bronaugh struggled with his control and gave up a first-inning run. Ben Elson singled and eventually scored on Wyatt Terrell's sacrifice fly.

Henry Clay's leadoff batter reached base in each of the first four innings, but Bronaugh surrendered only that one run. He struck out the side in the fourth.

The Commodores took the lead with three runs in the third off Devils starter Lucas Simpson. Austin Younce and Tanner Hart walked, and Luke Rouse singled to load the bases. Shelby then delivered a two-out, two-strike, two-run single to center.

After Blake Rose was hit by a pitch to reload the bases, Jeffery Chapman was also hit by a pitch to drive in a run.

Henry Clay made two errors in the fourth that led to two more Tates Creek runs, one scoring on Hart's single.

The hosts added three in the fifth, including RBI hits by Jordan Fucci and Younce.

Shelby said the Commodores shook out of their sluggishness "by getting our intensity up and just playing baseball together. We know how to play the game."

Henry Clay's other run came on Ian Hays' solo homer in the sixth.

Tates Creek Coach Dom Fucci was delighted with how his team performed in sweeping four city teams.

"An outstanding week, a quality week for us," he said.

"We've got a deep pitching staff, we've been getting key hits and great defense. Just a well-rounded club."

But, Black cautioned, the Commodores have work ahead. "We can't get too content," he said. "We've got to keep building and trying to get better every day."

Fucci agreed.

"You've got to grind it out in high school baseball," he said. "You take it like ol' Bull Durham one game at a time."

Tates Creek 9, Henry Clay 2

Henry Clay 100 001 0—2 5 4

Tates Creek 003 231 x—9 6 3

Lucas Simpson, Alex Hricenak (5) and Mason Womack. Cody Bronaugh, Austin Block (6) and Nathan Black. HR—Ian Hays (HC). 2B—Javon Shelby (TC), Austin Younce (TC).

Records: Henry Clay 9-3; Tates Creek 4-11

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