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Monday, May 25, 2015

Baseball sectionals provided lots of action

Posted Wednesday, June 1, 2011, at 11:51 AM

Although there will be plenty of fireworks in Linton on July 4 weekend, it will be hard to compare to the fireworks Monday and Tuesday at the Class 2A Linton-Stockton and Class A Shakamak baseball sectionals.

I will try to use this space to recap some of the action, some that I am still trying to comprehend, including 18 runs in an half-inning and a near perfect game.

Linton-Stockton senior right-hander Ty Scott's flirtation with perfection against Bloomfield was anything but perfect.

He had more three-ball counts than "Wild Thing" Ricky Vaughn had in the movie Major League.

I remember at least three times, maybe four, that Scott started Cardinal hitters with three balls before coming back to get an out. He showed a lot of toughness and character.

Even with two outs in the top of the fifth with a 14-run lead against Bloomfield's Brandon Thornsbury, he went 3-0 before coming back with two strikes.

Needing just one strike for the shutout, no-no and perfect game, Thornsbury lined a sharp single to left field.

Scott then fanned Cardinal senior Eric Bartlow to end the game, putting the Miners in the semifinals.

Scott finished a one-hit shutout, featuring seven strikeouts.

Bloomfield senior Payton Karl struck out and popped out to short to conclude his career. If memory serves, he hit 10 home runs this year and ended with 25 in his four seasons, the most in Cardinal history.

Eastern Greene trailed 3-2 going to the third inning against South Knox in their semifinal game Monday evening at Linton-Stockton Sectional 45.

Before the half-inning was over, 23 Thunderbirds had come to plate, 13 got hits and 20 reached safely, producing 18 Eastern Greene runs and what turned into an insurmountable 20-3 lead and eventually a 28-7 victory.

Somebody commented about it being a football score and the first thing I thought of was that nobody missed an extra point. Then in my twisted way of thinking, I thought about the Budweiser Super Bowl commercial from a few years ago where the Clydesdales were playing football.

One bystander asked the cowboy, who was watching and was apparently used to this activity, if they normally did this. His reply was, 'No, they normally go for two.'

Now back to the inning.

I know the 18 runs is not any kind of record but it might be for a game featuring two solid teams. Normally that happens when there is a distinct mismatch -- like Vincennes Lincoln vs. Vincennes Rivet or Union (Dugger) vs. Eminence. Lincoln and the Bulldogs both racked up numerous offensive records against inferior opponents.

South Knox had beaten the Thunderbirds 11-2 early in the regular season and probably would at worst been consider co-favorites to win the sectional.

When a team scores that many runs, normally you would think about a team hitting a couple of home runs, maybe even a grand slam or two.

But of the 13 hits, only one was for extra bases. That was a two-run double by Matthew Bays, who had three hits and scored twice in the inning, including an RBI single.

In the third, Jake Johnson had two hits, reached base three times, scored three runs.

Jake Hash had a two-run single, drew a walk and was hit by a pitch. He scored three runs.

Michael Love had two hits, walked once and drove in three runs.

Zak Eckerle singled in a run, walked in a run, scored twice and then struck out to end the inning.

Nathan Cobine reached and scored on an error and had a two-run single as the 15th batter in the frame.

Logan Hash struck out and then drove in a run with an infield hit. He later scored one of the 18 tallies.

Logan Frye walked in a run and then later reached on an infield hit and scored.

Winning pitcher Davis Russell had an infield single that plated a run and later made the second out of the inning with an infield pop to first.

Whew, man it was exhausting just to recall.

Hopefully, I did not miss anything.

This was not an official accounting of what happened, just notes from a reporter's scorebook.

The Miners scored 43 runs in claiming their second consecutive sectional title at home Tuesday night.

They scored 17 against North Knox, 14 against Bloomfield and 12 in a five-run win over Eastern Greene in the title game Tuesday night.

At the Class A Shakamak Sectional, I am sure that I was not the only person surprised when Clay City defeated Shakamak 8-3 in the second semifinal.

But upon further review, it turned out to be the perfect storm for the Eels, who went on and lost to North Central 15-7 in the championship game Monday night.

The Eels did not pitch their best in an 11-0 loss to the Lakers on the same field on May 21.

"We had nothing to play for on that day," CC coach Vance Edmondson said of choosing to play a bit coy. "It wasn't like we could win the conference or anything."

But even with his ace Brylan Jones pitching, not many in attendance on a hot and sunny Memorial Day thought the Eels could get the job done.

But Jones did exactly that. He struck out 11, walked one, hit two and limited the Laker batters to four hits.

As it turned out, that was the eighth victory in nine games for Jones. They were 8-1 when he pitched and 2-9 when he did not.

After the victory, Jones was out of innings (10 in three days) and could not pitch against North Central in the title game.

After Clay City scored seven runs in the fourth and chased Laker lefty Brock Dowell, Edmondson and the Eels nervously watched Jones keep the Lakers in check.

Shakamak used two Clay City errors to score a run, cutting the lead to 8-3 in the fourth.

But Jones then retired eight in a row before Patrick Green singled with two outs in the seventh. He then struck out Brodie Crowe to end the game, making it two years in a row that Shakamak would not be sectional champs after winning nine in a row.

Edmondson knew without Jones, their chances were slim and none against North Central in the title game later that night.

But I told him near the end of the game, you can't win a championship until you get to the championship game.

All he could do was smile.

B.J. Hargis is the sports editor at the Greene County Daily World. He can be reached at (812) 847-4487, ext. 12 or at hargisbj@gmail.com.

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