SC rolls Hornets, win SAC
The South Central baseball team completed a sweep Saturday of visiting Henryville, outscoring the Hornets 20-4 during the two games.
Most importantly, however, the Class A No. 4 Rebels completed a sweep of Southern Athletic Conference competition to earn the bragging rights for 2013.
Rebels coach Brian McKnight said the game is always circled on the schedule but, after Henryville won handily last year to take conference, his team had extra focus this time around.
The opening game of the doubleheader was for the SAC, and senior pitcher Jason Boston delivered a gem. Striking out 10 during seven innings of work, Boston earned the win, yielding five hits.
‘I wanted to get ahead with the first pitch,’ Boston said. ‘To the big guys in their line-up, I wanted to throw curveballs and keep them off balance. My fast ball wasn’t where I wanted it today, but the curve ball felt great.’
South Central pounded out seven hits, leading to a 6-1 victory in game one.
With two outs, Boston reached on a walk then advanced on a Spencer Ray single. Bringing home the first run was Parker Gabhart with a single to left.
Henryville would knot the score at 1 in the third when a run scored on a wild pitch.
Bouncing back, South Central scored three runs in the fourth inning then tallied two more in the sixth.
In the fourth, Gabhart worked a lengthy at-bat, fouling off several pitches. He eventually won the battle against Henryville’s Cody Reister, getting plunked by a pitch for a free pass. He’d eventually score on a passed ball.
Once Cory Ray reached on a fielder’s choice and Alex Goforth drew a walk, it set the table for the top of the order. Austin Knear came with the goods, smashing a double to the left-field fence, plating two.
The big inning gave the Rebels a 4-1 lead.
‘The bottom scored four runs,’ McKnight said. ‘They got on base for the top, and we managed to score them today.’
McKnight credited Gabhart’s battle at the plate in firing up the offense.
Henryville would put a runner on base in each of the final four innings but couldn’t scratch a run.
Defense was key for the Rebels, who failed to commit an error in either game.
‘They played super defense today,’ McKnight said. ‘No errors and kept the ball in front of us. Making the plays was the difference.’
Setting up two insurance runs in the bottom of the sixth were Cory Ray and Goforth. Ray drew a walk, while Goforth hit a double. Nick Veith brought home Ray when he reached on an error, while Boston hit a deep sac fly to center, easily plating Goforth.
‘There isn’t an unconfident feeling when the bottom of the line-up comes up,’ Boston said. ‘Everyone on this team can contribute. We’re a pretty solid team top to bottom.’
Jack Turner finished the game with two singles and later had a home run in game two.
‘It’s a big confidence builder,’ McKnight said. ‘You play teams all year long, then you step up and play a real good ball team for the conference championship, and we came through. We came up with clutch hits.’
Boston said there was an element of revenge playing into knocking off the Hornets.
‘After they beat us last year, it felt good to get them back on our home field,’ he said.
South Central finished the SAC season with a 5-0 record and improved to 19-4 with a 14-3 win over Henryville in game two. Nathan Shaffer picked up the win in the non-conference affair.
‘We were able to score a lot of runs in the conference games, but the pitching has been really good,’ McKnight said of the conference title.
South Central will open the Class A Lanesville Sectional tomorrow (Thursday) when the Rebels face the host school at 5 p.m.