Ray walk-off lifts South Central
South Central may have given up the home-field advantage Saturday against Borden, but the Rebels made sure to keep, and take advantage of, their final at bat.
The Southern Athletic Conference game, scheduled to be played in Elizabeth, was moved to Borden due to poor field conditions at South Central.
Keeping as the home team on the scoreboard, South Central needed the final at bat to pull out an eighth-inning win in the first game of the double header. Spencer Ray hit a two-strike pitch over the outstretched arms of Borden’s first baseman Kyle Craig to plate Lucas West from second base. As a pinch hitter, West drew a leadoff walk in the inning. He was sacrificed to second on a Austin Kneer bunt.
West’s run landed the Rebels a 4-3 win.
‘We had good speed coming up in the eighth,’ South Central coach Nick Tremain said. ‘I knew if we could get the leadoff aboard, we would have a good chance to manufacture a run. We were able to execute with a sacrifice bunt to set the table for the middle of the order, and Ray was able to stay back with two strikes and get the base hit we needed.’
Much of the game was a battle among pitchers and defense.
South Central was able to score early on Borden’s Craig, who started the game but ran out of eligible innings after seven.
Ray scored in the first inning when Jason Boston hit a double to center field. Following a Josh Sams single, Matt Veith plated Boston with a single, giving the Rebels a 2-0 lead after the first inning.
South Central pressed the lead to 3-0 when Alex Wiseman laced a ball off the Borden shortstop’s glove, scoring Veith.
Craig tallied 12 strikeouts for the Braves but allowed seven walks.
‘Craig is a great pitcher, but we were able to run his pitch count up and make him work with runners on throughout the game,’ Tremain said. ‘He is going to get his strikeouts, but we did a nice job of working the count and getting pitches that we could put into play.’
Aided by three double plays, the South Central defense kept Borden at bay for much of the game. Jordan Yale turned an unassisted double play at shortstop in the second inning, while Boston snared a liner at third base in the fourth to double off a Borden runner.
The biggest double play came in the sixth inning with the game tied and runners on second and third. With the infield in and one out, Wiseman, pitching in relief, induced a ground ball to Yale. He threw to Veith at first, who turned to gun Zach Wilson at the plate, who tried to score.
Borden tied the game at 3 with a trio of runs crossing the plate in the fifth. Garrett Vick opened the frame with a double and was followed by consecutive singles off the bats of Jared Sanders and Kyle Pace. Then, Travis Scott reached on an error, allowing the game to tie.
Veith went five innings, striking out two. Wiseman picked up the win, striking out three in three innings of work.
Morris took the loss for Borden, pitching in relief in the eighth.
‘We got a quality start from Matt Veith,’ Tremain said. ‘He did a nice job pitching to contact and letting his defense work behind him. He kept the ball down and got a lot of ground balls. Alex Wiseman came in a pressure situation and was able to work out of jams in the sixth and the eighth.’
Borden loaded the bases in the top of the eighth, but Wiseman escaped the inning by forcing Sanders to fly out for the third out.
Yale and Veith finished with two of South Central’s nine hits.
In game two, the non-conference game, Boston took the win on the mound, going 4-2/3 innings with four strikeouts in an 11-4 win.
Sams had two hits and three RBIs, while Kneer went 1 for 1 with three runs scored. Damien Bush closed the game on the hill, striking out four in two scoreless innings.
South Central is currently 8-4 (1-0 SAC). The Rebels will play a doubleheader Saturday at 11 a.m. against visiting Corydon Central.