TRAFFIC COP: Carroll County assistant coach Mike Willhoite gives baserunner Justin Ray the green light at third as Green scored one of the Panthers’ runs in an 11-5 win over Gallatin County Friday in Carrollton. (Staff photo by David Hill)
TRAFFIC COP: Carroll County assistant coach Mike Willhoite gives baserunner Justin Ray the green light at third as Green scored one of the Panthers’ runs in an 11-5 win over Gallatin County Friday in Carrollton. (Staff photo by David Hill)
Carroll County baseball, which lost three straight games to start the week, rallied with seven-run sixth inning to beat Gallatin County on Friday and finish the week on a two-game win streak.

The Panthers, 8-7 winners over St. Henry on Thursday, added a come-from-behind 11-5 victory over Gallatin on Friday in their first district game of the season.

Panther starting pitcher John Michael Adams got off to a rocky start, as he gave up all five runs on two hits, an error, a fielder's choice and three walks in the first inning. Adams settled down after the first, and he and reliever Dillon Craig combined to shut out the Wildcats the rest of the way.

"John Michael started out flat and he got behind on the count a lot in the early-going," Carroll County coach Jimmy Ray said. "He settled down after the first inning."

Ray wasn't around long after the first inning, as he was ejected by the umpire while arguing a call. Taking over was assistant coach Mike Willhoite, who Ray said helped guide the team to victory.

"The kids responded well," Ray said. "We could have hung our heads after getting down early, but the assistant coaches did a good job running the team."

Curtis Flynn got the Wildcats' first started with a double. He was bunted over by Mason Wilson and scored on a walk. Nathaniel Stewart drove in one of the runs on a base hit.

Carroll County got its first run in the second inning when Adams, who had three hits including a three-run triple, led off with a single, advanced on a passed ball and scored on a ground-out by Chase Osborne.

After a scoreless third, Carroll pulled another run closer to the Wildcats in the fourth when Adams singled, advanced on a pair of passed balls and scored on a hit by Zaak Hicks.

Gallatin County stranded a pair of runners in the top of the fifth and Carroll pulled to within one run in the bottom of that inning. A leadoff hit by Justin Ray and an error allowing Craig to reach was followed by a passed ball and an RBI ground-out by Jacob Wise that scored Ray. Craig then plated the Panthers' fourth run on a passed ball.

Adams pitched for the first two outs in the sixth before Craig came on to finish the inning.

Singles by Osborne and Ray and a walk by Zack Beckham loaded the bases for Carroll in the bottom of the sixth. Craig then drove in the tying run on a fielder's choice, Wise slapped an RBI single and Ray scored on a infield popup off the bat of Austin Dunn. Adams then cleared the bases with his big three-run triple to plate Craig, Wise and Trey Boles, who had walked. Finally, Adams scored on a fielding error to round out the scoring.

The 11-5 lead was more than enough cushion for Craig, even though he issued a leadoff walk in the seventh. However, the extra base-runner never got a chance to fuel a comeback because Craig got a pair of ground outs and a pop out to end the game.

The Panthers, now 8-5, return to action Tuesday at Henry County in another big district contest. Gallatin County, losers to Trimble County on Thursday, falls to 2-8.

Two-hitter by Leach

not enough for Cubs

Madison sophomore Ethan Leach tossed a two-hitter in his first varsity start and the Cubs out-hit Lawrenceburg 4-2 but in the end a lack of clutch hitting cost the Cubs a 3-1 road loss on Friday.

The bright spot for Madison was Leach, a transfer who joined the team this season. He struck out six, walked two and hit two batters while twirling the complete-game two-hitter.

"Ethan Leach pitched extremely well for his first high school outing," Madison coach Shannon Barger said of his hard-luck loser. "The big thing is we've had back-to-back outings where our pitchers threw really well - Clark Vaughn yesterday and Ethan today - and that's really been a positive for our team with Ryan Thurston out with mono."

The big hit of the game for Madison was an RBI single by Tanner Sauley in the sixth that scored Xavier Barnes and knotted the game 1-1 with two Cubs still on base. However, the Madison rally died there and Lawrenceburg answered with two runs in the bottom of the inning to pull out the win.

"We have two guys on base and couldn't get them in and then they score two in the bottom of the sixth," Barger said. "That was disappointing."

The speedy Barnes led the Cubs with two hits. His other was an infield single in the first inning but he was then caught stealing on a perfect throw. Barger said Madison also had "three rockets to third base" that were caught for outs to rob extra bases.

Madison (1-3) will travel to Floyd Central today for a doubleheader with Columbus East and the Highlanders.