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Lanesville survives Rebels’ best

Lanesville survives Rebels’ best
Lanesville survives Rebels’ best
Circling first base after knocking a two-out home run over the fence, Lanesville's Ryan McCubbins pumps his fist in excitement. The shot evened the ballgame when the Eagles were down to their final out. Photo by Brian Smith

Three times Ryan McCubbins crossed home plate last Tuesday, and the progression of each score lended heavy importance to Lanesville’s needs.
A clash between Southern Athletic Conference and county rivals, Lanesville needed some heroics from McCubbins to fend off South Central in nine innings.
Down to the final out in the seventh inning, McCubbins evened the score at 2 with one swing of the bat, hammering a homer to left. Two innings later, with the bases full of Eagles, McCubbins scored on a wild pitch. The run gave the host Lanesville a dramatic 3-2 victory in extra innings.
‘I thought this game should have been over sooner because we had many base runners stranded, but adversity is something we’ve overcome in these (conference) games,’ McCubbins said. ‘We hope it takes us into the postseason.’
Lanesville coach Zach Payne said coming through in key moments has carried over from last postseason. A week prior, the Eagles needed a home run to defeat SAC-foe Borden in extra innings.
‘The biggest thing we got from last year’s state run was the fact our kids are able to come through in the clutch,’ Payne said. ‘Clutch hitting is something we have proven to be successful at. It’s exciting to see guys get some home runs in those moments, too.’
It was a rough defensive first inning for South Central, but, after giving up one run, the Rebels upped their defensive presence. Opening the seventh inning with a 2-1 lead, South Central shortstop Brandon Summers made a diving catch to his left, robbing Greg Daly of a hit.
One out later, South Central was one away from a victory. McCubbins took the first pitch over the fence toward Little Indian Creek.
‘The truth, I told Gabe (Gowens) in the dugout, if there are two outs, I will swing and try to hit a home run, so I did,’ McCubbins recalled. ‘Coach Payne was telling us to take until we got a strike. I asked him if I had to and he told me, ‘If it’s there, hit it’.’
Hit it he did.
South Central stranded one runner, Lucas Veith, in the eighth inning after a single. Lanesville, however, left the bags packed in the bottom half.
A walk drawn by Noah Jones and stolen base by pinch runner Ridge Hess set up one Lanesville scoring chance cut down by the Rebels’ defense. Tom Tidstrom’s hit to left saw South Central left fielder Ben Wibbels send a throw toward the plate. The cut and throw home saw Hess tagged out by Veith. It was the second outfield assist to the plate from left by South Central, the previous coming to end the third inning.
‘They played hard,’ South Central coach Brian McKnight said. ‘Brandon Summers is out there diving for balls, turning double plays. We hit the cut-off for two outfield assists, and we worked on that yesterday. We just needed one more base hit at the right time.’
Austin Schoen, after pitching seven strong innings for the Rebels, came up with the inning-ending play in the eighth. His diving stop saw him leap toward the second-base bag to force out Daly on a ball hit by Evan Peele.
‘The throw in the eighth was on me,’ Payne said. ‘I didn’t think (South Central) could do it again and, with Ridge being a good runner, but they proved me wrong. Maybe we won’t do that in sectional. We had opportunities but it took us nine innings.’
Will Weber drew a lead-off South Central walk in the top of the ninth. A sac bunt by Chase Schoen moved pinch runner T.J. Boyd to scoring position. Lanesville reliever Daly worked out of the jam, eventually earning the win. He gave up a slow-roller single to Summers but closed the frame by forcing an Austin Schoen fly out.
In the bottom of the ninth, Lanesville’s pressure scored a run. The first three batters ‘ McCubbins (hit by pitch), Mitchell Bailey (single) and Cam Harvey (intentional walk) ‘ reached. Cody Baelz was able to get an infield pop up out of Jones but couldn’t get Tidstrom out. The third ball in a lengthy at bat rolled to the backstop and allowed McCubbins to race in from home for the game winner.
‘Hopefully, we can have easier wins in the postseason,’ laughed Payne after the game when asked about going extra innings with Borden and South Central, two potential sectional foes. ‘It shows a sign our conference and sectional opponents are tough. I think we also showed, when the pressure is on, our guys can make plays. We want to put pressure on the other team.’
‘We’ve always battled with South,’ McCubbins said. ‘I love playing in this game.’
For nine innings, McKnight could see the Rebels elevating their play.
‘This was the best ballgame we’ve played all year,’ McKnight said. ‘We finally are starting to put things together. Austin, that’s the best ballgame he’s pitched. He came out and threw well. He kept us in the ballgame and gave us a chance to win. We were so close.’
It almost wasn’t to be for Schoen. Back-to-back hits for Lanesville, capped by Bailey driving in McCubbins, put the Eagles up 1-0. The next batter, Harvey, sent a screaming liner back at Schoen, hitting the right-hander. Falling to the ground, Schoen was shook briefly but stayed in the contest.
‘He was slow to get up,’ McKnight said of his pitcher. ‘Once we asked Austin how he is, he gave it the shrug and said he was fine. He toughed it out and did his job. It didn’t bother him and didn’t use it as an excuse. He went out and pitched.’
Elevating his game, Schoen left the bases loaded in the first then didn’t give up a run the rest of the way.
‘Their pitcher did a heck of a job,’ Payne said. ‘We didn’t get good swings on him, and his defense played well behind him. I don’t feel like we played a bad game; we just weren’t hitting the ball as well as we have been the last month or so. It was an exciting game.’
Outside of the fourth inning, Bailey gave up one hit through six innings for Lanesville. In the fourth, however, Bailey gave up four singles. Joe Logsdon and Veith reached on singles. Veith’s was a bunt that sailed over Bailey to a vacant area of the infield. Hits by Wibbels and Weber brought around runs, giving the Rebels a 2-1 edge.
‘We have to create more of our own breaks,’ McKnight said. ‘We have a hard time stringing anything together. That inning we were able to move things around.’
Lanesville was able to complete the come back, moving to 2-0 in SAC play.
McCubbins led Lanesville with a 3-for-4 day, while Zach Fink and Bailey had two hits each. Bailey also struck out eight batters.
South Central’s Veith went 2 for 4 at the plate. Schoen struck out six in seven innings.

South Central 000 200 000 ‘ 2 7 5
Lanesville 100 000 101 ‘ 3 10 1
W ‘ Daly, L ‘ Baelz.
2B ‘ McCubbins (L); HR ‘ McCubbins (L).

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