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High drama not a problem for Rebels

High drama not a problem for Rebels
High drama not a problem for Rebels
South Central celebrates with the Class 1A Shawe Memorial Sectional championship trophy after a thrilling 10-8 victory over Borden on Monday. Photos by Brian Smith
Brian Smith, Sports Editor

When the ball was scooped out of the dirt by first baseman Will Weber, the senior admitted he couldn’t breathe. Then, he noticed the throw from shortstop Wesley Wilson snapped a string on his glove.
The good news for Weber and the South Central baseball team is the final out that broke his leather clinched a 10-8 victory Monday over Borden for the Class 1A Shawe Memorial Sectional title in baseball.
‘I was in shock we won,’ Weber said. ‘I finally got what I’ve wanted since my freshman year. I was the manager my seventh and eighth grade year and watched those guys win four in a row. I wanted to be part of that. It took until my last try to get it, but it’s so sweet.’
Things got a bit hairy in the bottom of the seventh when rival Borden entered the inning down four and quickly put fans at the edge of their seats. A double by Sam Gasper and a single from Kyle Reynolds got the hopeful Braves moving. South Central relief pitcher Chase Schoen struggled to find the zone when called upon, walking three straight.
With two Borden runs already across in the seventh, South Central turned to its fifth pitcher of the day, Bryce Lewis, to close out the game. Needing just four pitches to get two outs, Lewis induced a ground ball to Wilson near the second-base bag, turning a sectional-clinching double play.
Seconds later, it was dog-pile time.
‘Since we hadn’t turned two many times this season, when the ball was hit, I was like ‘Holy cow.’ Then, it all hit me at once,’ South Central senior outfielder Wyatt Crosier said. ‘It was a big moment.’
Crosier pitched two innings of relief to earn the win along with a single and sacrifice bunt. Zach Needler started on the hill with Frank Goodman also seeing action on the bump.
‘Wyatt Crosier had the game of his life,’ South Central co-coach Alex Wiseman said. ‘He had a base hit and a big sacrifice bunt. It goes back to the mental attitude. He doesn’t have the best game at the plate, but he gives us solid innings in relief. Our pitching, we have 10 guys that can come in and throw strikes at any point. We trust our guys.’
It took a come-back effort from the Rebels. Borden had three hits in the opening inning, including a double from Jonah Hall and a two-run Sam Gasper single to give the Braves a quick 3-0 lead. They added one more in the second when Nick Marcum reached on an infield single with the bases loaded. Needler escaped the jam by forcing a Hall ground out.
South Central started to roll on offense in the third. Frank Goodman was hit by a pitch, then consecutive singles by Needler and Wilson got the offense rolling. Wilson finished 3 for 5 at the plate, reaching twice on bunt hits.
With two outs, Schoen singled on the infield as Borden’s first baseman Marcum and pitcher Gavin Gentry collided near the line. Two runners scored on the play.
Borden extended its lead to four, 6-2, after four innings but the scoreboard showed 6-6 after four South Central runs in the fifth frame. Weber had a two-run single to right, then Ryan Steen and Goodman followed with hits as well.
‘We were down 4-0, 6-2, and we kept crawling back,’ Weber said. ‘When Frank got that big hit, I had a feeling we would get hot and win this thing.’
After Crosier pitched a clean fifth, South Central went back to work with the sticks. A full-count walk drawn by Needler preceded hits from Wilson and Austin Tyree. The shot to right by Tyree brought in two runs. Tyree later scored when the Braves threw down to second on a double steal with no one covering the bag.
By the end of the sixth, the Rebels had a 9-6 lead.
‘The Austin game, when we were down six going into the seventh inning, we came back and won,’ Alex Wiseman said. ‘We’ve been able to grind all year.’
A single to center from Wilson added another insurance run in the top of the seventh.
Once the drama of the bottom of the seventh unfolded, South Central was soon hoisting the first sectional trophy since 2014 in baseball.
‘We wanted to make a point this year that we weren’t just a walk over,’ Crosier said. ‘We can play baseball and, when you play us, we will play hard to the final out.’
Crosier said team work and being vocal in the dugout helped keep the team focused when it needed runs.
‘Mistakes come from being down, and we want to keep each other up,’ he said.
It was a team-wide effort for the Rebels. Eight of the nine starters recorded at least one hit.
‘The proudest moment is we’ve won with guys that started at SHAC and have stuck with it and worked their way up,’ South Central co-coach Brad Wiseman said. ‘It paid off today.’
For Weber, he said he didn’t mind the come-from-behind way of winning ballgames.
‘There have been so many games we’ve been down but fought back,’ he said. ‘Sometimes it’s more fun if you start down and fight back.’
South Central (13-16) earned a spot in the Loogootee Regional, which will take place Saturday. The Rebels will face No. 9 Tecumseh (19-7) at 11 a.m. with game two featuring Trinity Lutheran (12-11) versus No. 6 Barr-Reeve (17-5) at 1 p.m. The winners will return at 7:30 to play for the regional championship.

South Central 002 043 1 ‘ 10 12 0
Borden 311 100 2 ‘ 8 11 3
W ‘ Crosier, L ‘ Holmes, Sv ‘ Lewis.
2B ‘ Reynolds (B), Gasper (B), Hall (B).