Journal-Times (Grayson, KY)

April 23, 2014

Streak snapped: West Carter defeats East Carter 8-0, first win over Raiders in 19 years

By MacKenzie Bates - Sports Editor
Journal-Times

April 23, 2014 — Nineteen years and 40 games between East Carter and West Carter have passed since the Comets have beaten the Raiders.

Montell Jordan’s “This Is How We Do It” was the No. 1 song the last time West got a win over East.

The visiting Comets ended almost 20 years of futility against the Raiders in dominating fashion on Friday night, defeating East Carter, 8-0.  

The 62nd District cross-county rivalry has been one-sided since 1995, with East controlling the overall series 65-5.  

“It’s history-making for the town of Olive Hill,” West Carter coach Tim Johnson said. “But for our young ballclub, It’s year one of a new program. Nothing in the past matters to us.

“But I’m so glad we got the win for our town. I know it means a lot to them to break this streak.”

West Carter (12-2) had 14 hits, played solid defense and got lights-out pitching from freshman pitcher Ben Jordan. Jordan pitched four innings, giving up one hit and striking out eight. He also went 2-for-4 with an RBI.

“It feels great,” Jordan said of ending the losing streak. “We all have worked so hard as a team. We knew if we all do our part, we are going to win ballgames and to get a win like this against East after losing so many games against them, it shows our work has paid off.”

The Comets opened up the game in the third inning after Dalton Brown and Peyton Brown drew walks in the first two at-bats.

Eighth-grade infielder J.T. Johnson roped a double to right field to score two runs. Two batters later, Jordan went the same way to score Johnson.  Spencer Phillips drove in Jordan on the very next at-bat and Kyle Stone reached on an error to give the Comets a 5-0 lead.

“We’re playing more for what’s on the front of our jersey than what’s on the back of it,” J.T. Johnson said. “East Carter is a good ballclub, but we wanted to get this one. We wanted to end the streak.”

“When you’ve got a group of players that are as special as we got, it’s easy to root for them,” Tim Johnson said. “Our kids executed in all three phases. We got bunts down, we played solid defense and got great pitching from Ben Jordan and Kaden Rose. I’m just so proud of them.”

East Carter coach Jeremiah Shearer knew his team was in trouble after starter Jordan Walburn issued a leadoff walk to the nine-hitter in the lineup.

“In the bottom of the order, we had to attack them at the plate,” Shearer said. “We walked the nine guy and we knew they could swing the bat from the 1-through-5 hitters. We walked them and allowed RBI opportunities.”

The game never seemed out of hand for the Comets once they had the lead. Everything was going their way. Chase Hanshaw had two bunt singles in the infield.  Jordan and reliever Kaden Rose were getting groundouts and fly balls.

“West Carter came to play,” Shearer said. “They were aggressive. Their attitude was good. They wanted it more. They stepped into the box with more energy than we did.”

While Tim Johnson said he and his team would enjoy this win, he is looking at a much bigger picture. West Carter is now 2-0 in 62nd District seeding action and in the driver’s seat for the No. 1 seed and a bye into the district tournament championship and the 16th Region Tournament.  

With Elliott County disbanding its team earlier this season, the 62nd is now a three-team district.

“That’s an understatement,” Johnson said of the perks of being 2-0. “We want to finish first in our district to get that bye into the region tournament.  It would also mean we would have all of our pitchers in the district championship.”

West Carter is not getting ahead of itself. The Comets have one more district game with both Morgan County and East Carter.

Zack Cathey and Jesse James had the only two hits for East Carter (8-12). Shearer hopes his players will use this loss as motivation.

“These guys don’t want to be remembered for being that team,” Shearer said. “Hopefully we’ll be able to bounce back from this.”

For the time being, like in Montell Jordan’s song, the party is there on the West side.

“We played like we’ve been here before,” J.T. Johnson said. “We played up to our potential, and it showed.”

MacKenzie Bates can be reached at mbates@journal-times.com or by telephone at 1-800-247-6142.