Long ball ignites Rebel shutout
Using your speed and your strength in baseball is fairly important, along with hitting in tough situations. South Central’s John Lopp showed a balance of both in the Rebels’ eight-run third inning against visiting Restoration Christian Monday.
Lopp led off the third with a triple, hustling to third on a ball that shot past the Lion centerfielder. Lopp scored when Dustin Hornickel reached on an error. In the same inning, with the bases juiced, Lopp belted a deep home run, a grand slam, to right field.
Lopp’s big night, along with a shutout pitching performance by Joe Metcalf, led South Central to a 12-0 win in five innings over the Lions.
Key for the Rebels (7-5) was hitting with two outs. In the eight-run third, six of the runs were scored with two down. The hit barrage with two outs included Adam McKnight hitting a run scoring single and Cody Jobe smacking a two-run homer. Jobe also scored in the second inning after splitting the gap with a double.
‘I told the boys (after the game) we haven’t hit that way with two outs in a long time,’ said Rebel head coach Nick Tremain. ‘We haven’t always been able to put the ball in play like that. We kept the inning going, that was the thing I was most happy about.’
The Rebels started the scoring in the first inning, utilizing fundamentals. On a hit and run, Travis Higdon shot the ball between second and third through the wide open hole. Higdon’s hit was followed by a run scoring single by Chip Hockenbury.
On the hill, Metcalf wasn’t perfect, but pitched himself in and out of two bases loaded jams to notch the win. He had seven strikeouts in five innings but walked seven Lions.
‘He didn’t get hit too hard,’ Tremain said of his right hander. ‘His command was off but he fought through it and pitched well.’
South Central appears to be peaking at the right time. Over the past week they have begun to hit the ball well. After striking out a lot early in the season, coach Tremain is preaching contact. Recently the team has been working hard on hitting with a two-strike count and hitting the ball to the opposite field.
This week will be a greuling test for South Central, playing four games in three days. Yesterday the team traveled to Perry Central and returns home tonight (Wednesday) to play a double header against Silver Creek.
The week isn’t over for the Rebels there, as they will participate in a tournament in Crawford County over the weekend.
‘We’re going to see what kind of team we’re going to be,’ Tremain said. ‘Hopefully this week will get us ready for the postseason.’