Rebels show grit after allowing big first inning
Brian Smith, Sports Editor
Taking steps forward in the mental side of baseball has been seen during the first week of games at South Central.
A year ago, giving up a big inning to an opponent may have resulted in a lack of confidence during the remaining innings. Monday night, South Central had a rough top of the first in the field against visiting Charlestown, but the Rebels showed they could put the past in the past.
The Pirates sent 15 to the plate in the first inning, resulting in 11 runs. Rallying in the second, South Central scored four to inch closer on the scoreboard. By the seventh inning on a cold evening, Charlestown was able to head home with a 17-5 win.
‘The biggest difference between this year and last year is we don’t roll over,’ South Central co-coach Brad Wiseman said. ‘We’ve had four bad innings, and we are 0-4. Our mental approach is getting better, but we need to put it together for a full baseball game. We have to come out ready to play.’
Three of South Central’s four errors came in the opening inning as Charlestown added eight hits to the book. One hit, a two-run home to right off the bat of Drew Fifer, put Charlestown up 3-0. The remaining hits were singles, including batted balls by Charlestown’s Brendan Brainard, Hunter Jones and Payton Settles that never left the infield.
Posting an 11-spot in the first, South Central settled down in the field to hold the Pirates scoreless during the next three innings.
South Central opened the bottom of the second with an infield single off the bat of Stephen Sawicki. After Charlestown pitcher Fifer recorded two outs, Evan Schoen reached on an infield error. Fifer then made a throwing error on a ball hit by Zach Needler, allowing Sawicki to score.
Coming up with a big hit was Wesley Wilson, who knocked a two-run single to the outfield grass. Wilson later scored when a bad throw to third on a stolen base allowed him to trot home with ease.
By the end of the second, South Central cut the deficit to seven, 11-4.
‘What really helped us tonight was the bottom of our lineup scored our runs,’ South Central co-coach Alex Wiseman said. ‘That is something we didn’t have much of last year.’
Pitching in relief, South Central’s Bryce Lewis threw an effective four innings. He walked one and gave up a pair of earned runs.
‘We felt like our pitching would be better coming into this season, and it has been better than we’ve hoped,’ Brad Wiseman said. ‘Bryce Lewis has come in and thrown strikes. He’s not going to blow the ball by you, but he throws strikes. He came off the mound wanting more. That’s the attitude we need.’
The Rebels went on to use Frank Goodman, Chase Schoen and Wyatt Crosier in relief as well. Will Weber got the start.
‘We threw Weber, Crosier, Lewis, Goodman and Chase Schoen. We threw five guys today and had (Nathan) Farnsley warming (up),’ Alex Wiseman said. ‘We have games the rest of the week, and we have the pitching to do it. Now, we have to find that magic nine to prevent that big inning.’
After giving up the four runs in the second, Fifer retired the Rebels in order of the next three innings. South Central saw Crosier lead off the sixth with a single. Matthew McCoy entered in relief for the Pirates and gave up a double in the gap to Chase Schoen.
The bases then loaded when Sawicki was hit by a pitch. Weber brought in a run when he grounded into a fielder’s choice. Weber was later doubled off when Ryan Steen lined into a double play.
Charlestown added four more runs in the seventh inning to reach the final score.
Fifer not only picked up the win, striking out six in four-plus innings, but went 2 for 3 at the plate. He also drew two walks. Charlestown’s Brady Latham, Eric Wigginton and Payton Settles had two hits apiece. Two-hitter Bradley Love had three singles.
South Central finished with four hits, one each by Crosier, Sawicki, Schoen and Wilson.
‘Our approach at the plate has been different this year,’ Brad Wiseman said. ‘We have to have a hitter’s mentality, and we are starting to get there.’
Through a week of games, the Wiseman coaches said they like how players are adapting to the change in at bats. There is also competition for outfield spots.
‘Evan (Schoen) showed us a lot of positives in the outfield tonight,’ Alex Wiseman said. ‘Then, he ropes the ball in his final at bat. He needs to continue to come on and build off tonight.’
South Central is slated to host Tell City tomorrow (Thursday).
Charlestown (11)00 020 4 ‘ 17 15 3
South Central 040 001 0 ‘ 5 4 4
W ‘ Drew Fifer, L ‘ Will Weber.
2B ‘ D. Fifer (C), Chase Schoen (SC); HR ‘ D. Fifer (C).