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McNew’s HR stuns Eagles

McNew’s HR stuns Eagles
McNew’s HR stuns Eagles
Lanesville's Ryan McCubbins (14) is surrounded by teammates after scoring a run against Borden last Wednesday in the Class 1A Sectional. Photo by Brian Smith

Lanesville coach Zach Payne knew it was a clich’, but his explanation to his players about the final inning couldn’t be simpler.
‘I told the kids that sometimes the ball just doesn’t bounce your way, literally,’ Payne said.
Carrying a 2-0 lead to the final inning against Borden in the Class 1A Christian Academy of Indiana Sectional, Lanesville was poised for the upset. That was until the ball didn’t roll ‘ or bounce ‘ the way the Eagles would have favored.
With two outs in the top of the seventh, Caleb Hart hit essentially a swinging bunt that trickled down the first-base line. Sliding to field the ball across the baseline, Hart leapfrogged over Lanesville pitcher Brenden Bube. Beating out the play, Hart joined teammate Dawson Nale on base after he reached on an error.
Payne disputed the play ‘ Hart jumping over Bube ‘ but to no avail.
The next batter, Lucas McNew, smacked a home run to give Borden a 3-2 lead. His shot to left, chased down by left fielder Jon Will, bounced off the plastic yellow top rail toward the brush beyond the New Albany field.
‘It’s a tough way to lose, with two outs (in the inning),’ Payne said. ‘Brenden didn’t do a whole lot wrong today. We have nothing to hang our heads about. We had a good season. We got a (Southern Athletic Conference) championship and can put that one on the wall.’
Prior to McNew’s heroics, it was primarily a pitcher’s duel between Bube and counterpart Kyle Kruer. Each racked up plenty of punch-outs: 10 strikeouts for Bube and eight for Kruer.
Working out of trouble in the first inning, Bube induced a Noah Hart ground out with runners on second and third. Borden’s lead-off man was the lone bright spot for Borden’s offense outside of the homer. Caleb Hart went 4 for 4 at the plate, accounting for all but one of Borden’s hits.
Lanesville’s sticks started going in the bottom of the fourth. Kicking off the frame, senior Stephen Shaffer knocked a triple to center, firing up the Lanesville dugout.
Payne said a point of emphasis in practice leading up to the match-up was the tendency of Borden to throw first-pitch curve balls.
‘Steve came up to me before his at-bat, and I asked if he thought about dropping (a bunt) down because their third baseman was playing back,’ Payne said. ‘He said, ‘Coach, I want to hit that first-pitch curve ball.’ I told him he gets that curve ball, then he’s bunting (the next pitch). Sure enough, he hits that curve ball.’
After Caleb Gresham was plunked by a pitch, Ryan McCubbins brought home the first run. Taking a 3-1 pitch to center, Shaffer tagged on the fly ball to score easily.
With two down, Lanesville added another run in the inning. After Josh Barnes reached on a single, Jake Chanley plated courtesy runner Joe Ferree with a shot to right.
Once Kruer gave up the two runs, he shut down the Eagles, retiring Lanesville’s next nine batters in order, six by strikeout.
Borden had two reach after two outs in the fifth. Caleb Hart hit a single, and McNew reached on an infield error. Bube buckled down again, striking out Kruer on three pitches.
‘Brenden did an excellent job today,’ Payne said. ‘He has no reason to hang his head.’
The 2-0 lead, however, evaporated with McNew’s homer off the fence in the seventh. Lanesville had the final at-bats, but Kruer struck out the side.
‘I didn’t know if they would pitch Kruer or not,’ Payne said. ‘They beat us pretty good last time, so I wasn’t sure if they would throw off, thinking they could beat us again, but they went with their No. 1. They are a good team, and we are a good team. We probably played better than them for 6-2/3 innings.’
Payne said a positive is looking back at the last time the Eagles played Borden; eight errors put them out of the game during the regular season.
‘We’re a much better team than when we last played them,’ Payne said. ‘We played a good schedule and will again next year.’
Lanesville, which will graduate five starters ‘ Jon Ferree, Caleb Gresham, Josh Barnes, Stephen Shaffer and Jake Chanley ‘ closed with a 15-10 record and a share of the SAC title.
‘There is a lot to build on, and the kids know the expectation has been raised,’ Payne said. ‘They raised it by themselves midway through the season. They are going to come back next year and be a good team again.’

Borden 000 000 3 ‘ 3 5 1
Lanesville 000 200 0 ‘ 2 4 3
W ‘ Kruer, L ‘ Bube.
3B ‘ Shaffer (L); HR ‘ McNew (B).