Rebels upend Lanesville, 7-4
South Central took advantage of six Lanesville errors in last Wednesday’s match-up of Southern Athletic Conference rivals to upend the Eagles, 7-4, in Elizabeth.
The Rebels gained the upperhand in the second and third innings when they built a 5-0 lead. In the second inning, Matt Veith reached on an error. Then, with two outs, Spencer Ray and Jordan Yale hit a pair of singles, with Yale’s plating Veith. Mark O’Connor followed by putting a ball on the ground that was mishandled by Lanesville, which allowed two additional runs.
Clutch hitting continued in the third inning for the Rebels. With two outs after Jason Boston drew a walk, Veith pushed a base hit past the infield. At the plate, Alex Wiseman laced a two-run double, one of his two hits on the day.
‘We had some two-out hitting, which is something we have lacked,’ South Central coach Nick Tremain said. ‘We had a few guys hit with pressure on them. Two times we started to roll with two outs, which is a good step for us.’
Lanesville used the long ball to get back in the game during the fourth inning. In the frame, Caleb Caldwell led off with a solo home run to left center field. After South Central hurler Chip Hockenbury struck out the next two batters, Eagle clean-up hitter Tate Watson hit a towering shot over the fence down the left-field line.
The homers cut South Central’s lead to 5-2. Lanesville’s defense, however, slipped up in the bottom of the fourth, giving the two runs back. After Lanesville pitcher Jordan Sizemore recorded the first two outs, the next two batters, Josh Sams and Hockenbury, reached on errors. Elliot Thompson loaded the bases with a single. Then, for the third time in the inning, the Eagles made an error, this time on Boston’s grounder, to plate two runs.
‘We’re just in a funk right now,’ Lanesville skipper Sean Smith said. ‘I think our bats are going pretty well. Our guys put the ball in play against Chip, but South was able to make more plays. They played good defense, and that is what won it.’
The runs pressed the Rebel lead back out to five, 7-2.
‘Our goal was to put the ball in play, which is something we have struggled with at times this year,’ Tremain said. ‘Our focus has been to hit fastballs against Sizemore. We did a good job of that to put balls in play. Sizemore throws a lot of groundballs, and we wanted to hit the ball hard if they were groundballs.’
Lanesville put a two-out rally together in the sixth inning when Sizemore drew a walk. South Central had a defensive hiccup when Watson reached on an error. With two on, Alex Mix hit an RBI single down the left-field line, plating Sizemore. Josh Bowman then smacked a run-scoring double, but Mix was cut down trying to score to end the inning.
‘That is one of the things about our guys, they don’t give up. But lately, we have dug ourselves too big of a hole,’ Smith said. ‘In games like this against a pitcher like Chip, it is hard to come back from four or five runs in one or two innings. It is all mental right now, and we need to get over it.’
Caldwell went 2 for 4 with a single and home run to lead the Eagle offense. Sizemore had five strikeouts and allowed two earned runs.
South Central’s Wiseman went 2 for 3 with a single, double and two RBIs. Hockenbury had eight strikeouts in seven innings and allowed three earned runs.
‘We did a good job making plays other than a lapse in the seventh inning,’ Tremain said. ‘Chip did a nice job throwing strikes.’
For Lanesville, Smith hopes the team gets out of the funk with a few weeks left in the regular season.
‘According to our stats, if we make the plays, it should be a one-run ballgame,’ Smith said. ‘We made way too many errors. We’ve fallen in a slump the last few games in the field. The Henryville game, we make five errors; we had Silver Creek down and we make an error.’