ALMOST THERE: Carroll County’s Keifer McIntyre (right) watches the play unfold while gliding into second base during the Panthers’ loss to Shelby County Wednesday. (Staff photo by David Hill)
ALMOST THERE: Carroll County’s Keifer McIntyre (right) watches the play unfold while gliding into second base during the Panthers’ loss to Shelby County Wednesday. (Staff photo by David Hill)
Carroll County first-year head coach Jimmy Ray is looking for answers after the Panthers dropped their third game in a row - an 11-2 drubbing at the hands of Shelby County Wednesday in Carrollton.

"We left a lot of people on base - 10 in the last four innings," Ray said. "We couldn't get key hits to drive in runs and our defense committed four costly errors. You can't play like that against good teams. Shelby County took advantage of our mistakes."

The Rockets, who scored single runs in the first and third innings off Panther starter Derrick Nickel, broke the game open with a five-run fourth. They took advantage of two Carroll errors, a hit batsman and a pair of walks - all before the first out was made.

"Derrick (Nickel) pitched pretty well today," Ray said. "He didn't get a lot of help from the defense."

Shelby added three more runs in the sixth inning and another in the seventh. The Panthers' only runs came in the fourth when Zakk Hicks scored John Michael Adams on a sacrifice fly and Dillon Craig drove Brandon Stewart in with a base hit.

Carroll County threatened in the fifth inning. Trey Boles lashed a long double to center field, Adams walked and Hicks reached on an error before a ground-out halted the rally. Then, in the sixth, the Panthers loaded the bases before an inning-ending strikeout.

After Shelby scored its final run in the top of the seventh, the Panthers again loaded the bases with one out, only to have the game end on a strikeout and a pop-out.

"We lost to three quality teams this week," Ray said. "But we wanted a tough schedule and good competition. I know we'll take our lumps but I think playing these teams will help us in the long run."

Carroll County will take on St. Henry today before entering district play with a 1 p.m. start Friday against Gallatin County at home. The Panthers play Henry County early next week and then prepare for the Eighth Region All "A" Classic.

"I think spring break may have thrown us off some," Ray said of his team's downspin. "We need to really start hitting the ball and get rid of some bad habits."

Craig had a double and single for Carroll, Jacob Wise and Boles each had doubles and Justin Ray had a pair of hits.

Leadoff hitter Kip Moore had three hits, including a triple to lead the Rockets. Austin Rhodes had a pair of hits and Kyle Durbin had a double.

Nickel worked six innings on the mound in suffering the loss. Keifer McIntyre pitched the seventh inning. Tyler Eades was the winning pitcher. He worked four and two-third innings.

Hilltoppers on wrong end of no-no at Charlestown

Charlestown's Drew Reich tossed a no-hitter to beat Shawe Memorial 7-0 in baseball action Wednesday in Charlestown.

Reich struck out seven but also walked seven in an outing that was wild enough to keep the Hilltoppers off-balance. Shawe hit the ball hard off the Charlestown hurler but never got one to fall in.

"(Reich) threw 50 balls and 52 strikes and usually it's hard to have a quality outing when you have a ratio like that," Shawe coach Matt Forner said. "But he threw the balls at the right time. He wasn't very consistent and as a hitter it's hard to get a bead on a pitcher like that. He threw a nice game."

While Reich was keeping Shawe hitless, his Pirate teammates were collecting just enough hits of their own to pull away for the win.

Charlestown used two errors to score two runs in the second but those were the only markers against Shawe starter David Grote until the fifth.

Grote cruised through the first four innings but three-straight bloop singles to open the fifth opened the door for a big five-run inning. Grote failed to get an out and ended up taking the loss.

"David threw a very good game. We were only going to let him go four innings but he had only 46 pitches," Forner said. "Those hits against David just found the right holes. That's how baseball is some times."

Kyle Daugherty relieved Grote to get the Hilltoppers out of the jam and ended up pitching two scoreless innings with just one walk.

While the Hilltoppers failed to get a hit, Grote did have two stolen bases and Jesse Ball also had a theft. Shawe had one opportunity to score in the third but a missed sign that ended the threat.

"If we could have gotten that run in it would have been 2-1 and then it's a different game," Forner said. "But that's some of the things we're going to have to work on."

Shawe, now 1-1 on the season, hosts Rock Creek for two games on Saturday. Friday's game with Milan has been rescheduled for late May.