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Silence not golden for Bearcats

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By John Herndon

VERSAILLES - Anderson County might be wondering which team it really is.

Are the Bearcats the club that put 17 runs up on perennial power Danville and was averaging nearly double digits in runs scored as recently as April 16?

Or are they the team that was shut out twice in three games of the Woodford County Invitational Tournament, making the fourth time in the last 9 games that the Bearcats had fired blanks?

The Bearcats would like to know after getting only 4 hits off Lloyd Memorial right-hander Jeremy Pittman Saturday in the Bearcats' last game of the tournament.

While Lloyd posted a 4-0 win to send the Bearcats to 9-10 on the year, Anderson took second place in the tournament on a tie-breaker. Woodford won the tournament with a 3-0 record in the round-robin affair but Anderson, Lloyd and South Oldham all finished 1-2. Anderson allowed the fewest runs (8) to take second. Lloyd finished third in the tourney.

But Anderson was scratching its collective head when it could never get anything going against Pittman, a sophomore. After Jeremy Turpin doubled with one out in the first and went to third on a ground out, Anderson had just one runner make it to second base.

Pittman baffled the Bearcats with a nice assortment of pitches.

He never overpowered the Bearcats, striking out just two in 6 innings, but only walked one, a first inning pass to Jacob Russell. Pittman simply threw strikes, then let his defense make plays behind him.

Anderson coach L.W. Barnes simply pointed to his head when asked about his team's inability to hit safely less than an hour after scoring 8 runs against South Oldham, which had beaten Lloyd the night before.

"Mental toughness," Barnes said. "We didn't show any in this game."

Pittman got a nice assist from his battery mate, catcher Corey Moore, who cut down would-be base-stealers Turpin in the third and Luke Hawkins in the fifth.

"You have to give the catcher some credit on those," Barnes said. "On one of them, we didn't get a good jump, but he made a couple of nice plays."

Turpin produced half the Anderson offense, while Hawkins and Jordan Alves both had a hit.

The offensive woes forced Anderson to waste a respectable pitching performance from sophomore Jacob Russell, who was making his first start of the year.

Russell gave up 4 runs, 3 earned, before giving way to Aaron Burkhead with one out in the fourth. Burkhead, who continues to recover from Tommy John Surgery, went the rest of the way, giving up just two hits.

Lloyd, located in the Cincinnati suburbs at Erlanger, scored single runs in the second and third innings.

Russell hit designated hitter Curt Oberschlake with the bases loaded in the second then scored another on Dylan McGuire's single in the third. Pat Thompson's single and Trey Mulligan's sacrifice bunt plated insurance runs in the fourth.

"Jacob did a good job," Barnes said of his starter. "It was his first start and we didn't give him any support."

Defensively, Anderson was charged with one error but the Bearcats failed to cover first on Matt Gregory's bunt in the fourth, opening the way for the final two runs to score.