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Boston blast just enough

Boston blast just enough
Boston blast just enough
South Central first baseman Jack Turner catches the ball from second baseman Nick Veith to double up Northeast Dubois runner Jace Terwiske in the fourth inning Monday. Photos by Brian Smith (click for larger version)

Roadrunner may have been fast, but the fleet-footed cartoon character doesn’t have anything on Monday’s game between South Central and Northeast Dubois.
Playing at a blistering pace, the Class A Loogootee Regional semi-final was a battle of who could score and how fast they could finish an inning.
South Central, the defending regional champion, provided the game’s lone run, when Jason Boston belted a sky-high ball clear over the left center-field fence. The blast landed the No. 5 Rebels in the regional final for the third straight year with a 1-0 decision over the Jeeps.
The rematch of last year’s regional championship was played under the warm sun in 66 minutes.
‘In the sixth inning, I realized this game was going pretty fast,’ Boston said. ‘It was 1-2-3, 1-2-3.’
Boston was a vital part, along with the defense behind him, in keeping the Jeeps off the scoreboard. The right-hander went the distance, striking out six to earn the win, his third of the postseason.
‘I threw probably 70 pitches in the bullpen warming up, trying to find it,’ Boston said. ‘Once (catcher) Spencer (Ray) and I get on the same page, we can get on a roll.’
Ray was a big helper in the second inning, negating a lead-off walk to Kristopher Weisheit and a single to Nolan Rasche. With the duo on and one out, Ray caught Weisheit leaning off second, picking him off from behind the dish.
Solid defense continued in the fourth inning when the Rebels second baseman Nick Veith snared a line drive off the bat of Rasche to double off Jace Terwiske on first base. The play ended a Jeeps’ threat with two runners on and less than two outs.
‘We made some plays,’ South Central coach Brian McKnight said. ‘Cory made a great play on a hit and run in the hole. Austin (Knear) ran down some balls in center.’
South Central’s offense was able to get the bat on the ball against opposing pitcher Gage Knies but had a hard time finding hits. Both teams managed only two hits each. South Central’s came in the fourth inning.
Boston led off the fourth, running the count full against Knies. The next pitch he saw, a curve, was smacked high in the air and over the fence. It would prove to be the game’s lone run.
‘I was way out in front again,’ Boston said. ‘I thought it was a terrible swing, but it went.’
‘Jason had been without a home run for a while and couldn’t find a better time to hit one,’ McKnight said.
South Central’s only other hit came in the same inning as the homer. Parker Gabhart slapped a single through the right side with one out. He was later doubled up when Jack Turner lined out to the third baseman.
Using a steady diet of off-speed pitches, Knies only struck out three but was able to get routine outs in the field.
‘We’ve struggled at times with those kinds of pitchers and we’ve worked on it,’ McKnight said. ‘Last week, we thought we had it cured at the sectional, but we weren’t as selective with pitches. They’re fine though.’
Northeast Dubois put a runner on in the fifth and sixth innings but, like the entire game, couldn’t move a runner beyond second base.
The final inning was one of the quickest for the Rebels. A flyout and back-to-back strikeouts ended the Jeeps’ season at 15-13. The Rebels improved to 23-5.
‘It was a fun game to watch because it was boom, boom, boom,’ McKnight said.
Winning against Northeast Dubois lands the Rebels in familiar territory, the regional final.
‘We made it a point, once we knew we got here, to get to the championship game,’ Boston said. ‘We want to win it again and go further than semi-state … We knew (Northeast Dubois) was a good team.’
McKnight said it’s a great credit to the program, which experienced turnover from this point last season.
‘It’s real good since we lost nine kids, six starters from last year,’ he said. ‘It’s almost a completely different ball club, and we’re right back to where we’ve been before. It’s really nice.’
Hits for Northeast Dubois came from Austin Kunz and Rasche.
The Rebels advanced to the regional championship, where they took on Vincennes Rivet. In the opposite semi-final, Rivet defeated Trinity Lutheran 12-0 in seven innings.