Gabhart’s walk-off sends Rebel faithful home happy
Late-game heroics elated the South Central faithful Thursday when Parker Gabhart hit a game-winning single to score the go-ahead run in the bottom of the seventh against visiting Tell City.
On a brisk cold night under the lights, the Rebels held the lead for one moment. It happened to be the most important moment.
A two-out fielding error by the Marksmen on a hit by Nick Veith with runners on allowed South Central to extend the inning and score a run. An intentional walk to slugger Jason Boston loaded the bases for South Central, which entered the final inning down 9-7. With a watchful eye, Spencer Ray brought around Alex Goforth, drawing a base on balls.
Within one run, Gabhart came up with the big moment. The moment of bases loaded and two outs, trailing by a run, didn’t faze Gabhart. He took an outside pitch and stroked the ball to the right-field grass, plating Veith for the winning run.
‘Last night we scored five runs in the bottom of the seventh in a JV game to win,’ South Central coach Brian McKnight said. ‘They didn’t quit and kept battling. It’s what they are good at. They’ve learned from the older kids to just battle in each at-bat. You don’t quit.’
Plate discipline helped bring the Rebels back. They drew 13 walks off a trio of Tell City pitchers. Boston garnered the most respect, walking four times.
‘They were very patient up there,’ McKnight said. ‘They didn’t swing at very many bad pitches. We haven’t hit the ball really well the first few games, but we’re finding ways to get on base.’
Three walks came in the final half inning.
Gabhart swung the hot stick for the team and came up at the right time. He swatted three hits, scoring a run on each.
‘Parker is a kid that doesn’t hit it overly hard, but he puts it in play,’ McKnight said.
The back-to-back walks to Boston and Ray set the table for Gabhart.
‘When you walk Jason and load the bases, it forces their pitcher to throw strikes,’ McKnight said. ‘Spencer was patient up there and worked a walk.’
From the onset, South Central was playing catch-up. Trent Rainey smacked a solo home run to left center in the second inning off Veith.
A three-run double by Rainey in the third inning allowed the Marksmen to lead 4-0.
Runs finally crossed the plate for the Rebels in the fourth, aided by walks. Tell City lefty Hunter Rowe labored in the inning, walking four of the first five batters.
Goforth made Rowe pay. He pulled a line drive on the right side of the left-field line, driving in runs to knot the game at 4.
The lead was short lived. Tell City’s Spencer Beard and Casey May led off the fifth with singles. Beard later scored on a wild pitch, while May came across on a C.J. Rowe single.
Down 6-4, South Central added a run in the fifth. Gabhart scored Veith with a two-out single to right.
The Rebels would eventually tie the game in the sixth inning at 7 when Veith and Gabhart drove in additional runs.
In the top of the seventh, South Central relief pitcher Nathan Shaffer hit a lull, walking four and hitting one batter. The end result was Tell City taking a 9-7 lead before Boston came in and shut the door. He faced one batter, striking out Beard.
‘All three pitchers pitched well,’ McKnight said. ‘We wanted to get Nick some innings, and he worked through four. Shaffer came in and pitched well until the seventh, so we went with Jason to shut them down.’
Winning against Tell City in come-from-behind fashion should boost the Rebels.
‘With a young team, any win builds confidence,’ McKnight said. ‘This (win) is against a really good team. Some of our guys are lacking confidence a little bit, but this helps build it. We want to get stronger every day.’
Boston and Shaffer have thrown well in the first two games, each going the distance for wins. Boston earned the win against Tell City, while Rhett Baumeister took the loss.
To go with Gabhart’s three hits, Veith and Goforth had two each.
Rebels sweep Tigers in SAC opener
Outscoring Crothersville 35-0 in two games, South Central rolled to victories on the road Saturday to start the Southern Athletic Conference season 1-0.
In the SAC game (game one), Jason Boston tossed his second one-hit shutout of the season, helping the Rebels win 18-0 in five innings. Of the 15 outs recorded, 13 came way of the strikeout for Boston.
Spencer Ray led the offensive attack with a pair of triples and five RBIs. As a team, the Rebels tallied 13 hits.
Game two was also a rout, with South Central winning 17-0 in five. Cory Ray earned the win, punching out four batters.
Austin Knear belted a home run, while Alex Goforth and James Richter had a double each. Parker Gabhart was credited with four RBIs.
With the pair of wins, South Central improved to 5-0.
South Central will host Eastern (Pekin) today (Wednesday) at 5 p.m. before heading to Hauser for a doubleheader on Saturday (noon).