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Wildcats eye No. 1 district seed

Hunter Hanks steals third.The Wildcat varsity baseball team is sizzling hot at 11-1 this season, and went 3-0 this past week with wins over a very good Episcopal squad, Forrest and Palatka.

The win over the Episcopal Eagles on March 11 at the home field was a touch and go affair. The game bounced back and forth as BCHS came from three runs back to defeat the Rams 8-7 in nine innings.

Jacob Milton started on the mound and Justin Guillory picked up the win in relief, throwing two scoreless innings.

“I’m very proud of Justin because he hasn’t pitched in over a year coming off an arm injury,” said Coach Fred Matricardi. “He has stayed positive and continued to work hard.”

The Cats were down 3-0 in the fourth and scored five runs to take the lead. Jacob Milton doubled, Hunter Hanks singled to bring Milton in, and Ethan Wilkerson followed up with a two-run homer to tie the game. The Cats took the lead when Mikal Flores doubled and Dylan Hall got a single that brought Flores across the plate. Hunter Bell scored on a squeeze play to put BCHS up 5-3.

Episcopal regained the lead with a pair of runs in the seventh. The Cats tied the game when Grant Gregory reached on a error. Brandon Miller singled, Jacob Milton grounded out, with two outs and runners on second and third. Hunter Hanks had a great at bat and reached on a error to score Miller and Milton.

The game went into extra innings and Hanks singled to bring in Milton for the victory. Hanks went 4-5 to lead the offense.

“I feel this team is starting to understand what it takes to be great,” said Matricardi. “We just have to keep getting better and working hard.”

• The Wildcats hosted the Forrest Rebels in a district game on Thursday, March 14 and came away with a 15-2 win in five innings. Hanks improved to 5-0 on the mound. Ethan Wilkerson went 3-3 to lead the offense. BCHS scored 8 in a game shortened by the mercy rule.

• BCHS hosted Palatka and won 4-3 in eight innings on March 15. Jared Crews started on the mound and Jordan Kennedy picked up the win in relief.

“We were up 3-0 and had chances to put them away and just didn’t,” said Matricardi. “Palatka scored three in the fifth to tie the game. In the bottom of the eighth Ethan Wilkerson stepped up to the plate to lead off the inning. After getting ahead in the count 2-0, Ethan hit a monster home run to win the game. It was one of the longest balls I have seen hit in a long time off a guy that was really good and a future Division I pitcher.”

BCHS hosts Bishop Kenny on Friday, March 22 in a game that will decide the No. 1 seed in the district tournament.

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