By MICHAEL CHILDERS, CJ Correspondent
Despite a rough start to the game, Southwestern was able to use a six-run fifth inning to take down visiting McCreary Central by a score of 8-2 on Tuesday night at Warrior Stadium.
With the six-run victory over the Raiders of McCreary Central, the Warriors of Southwestern wrapped up the number one seed for next month’s 48th District Baseball Tournament.
Early on in the contest, Southwestern struggled to get any hits and get any runs across the plate. In fact, in the first two innings alone, the Warriors had the bases loaded and failed to score in each of those two frames. On the night, Southwestern stranded a total of 12 runners on base.
It wasn’t the best of games for the Warriors, according to third-year head coach Alex Eaton. Though he was happy that his team picked up the win and the top seed in the district, he wasn’t thrilled with how they got the victory.
“We’re always happy to come out with a victory - a win is a win,” began Eaton. “To be honest, I’m not really happy with the way we played to get the win. This game was a really important one, because it was a district clinching game for us. The way the guys played tonight, no one would have known that.”
The Warriors broke up a 2-2 tie in the bottom of the fifth inning when they scored six runs on seven hits to grab an 8-2 advantage over the Raiders. Prior to that big fifth inning, Southwestern had struggled at the dish.
“I’m kind of speechless on the way we played the first five innings,” stated the Warrior skipper. “We made no adjustments at the plate until the fifth inning. We are too good of a team to be waiting that long to hit the ball. We threw the ball well and played great defense, but our bats were horrible. We also made a few base running mistakes tonight that we shouldn’t be making at this point in the year.”
Freshman Lucas Turpin led off the inning with a single. Junior Austin Bubnick, pinch running for Turpin, scored on a one-out single from senior Thomas Howard to break a 2-2 tie. With two outs on the board, Southwestern would score five more runs.
Thomas Howard tallied Southwestern’s fourth run of the evening on a double from sophomore Jacob Burchett, who would score on junior Trevor Stacey’s single to make the score, 5-2. Stacey scored on the following at-bat from senior Logan Starnes, who had an RBI single.
Eighth-grader Hunter Cromer, who came in to pinch run for Starnes, reached home plate after a single from freshman Trevor Howard. A double from senior Zack Profitt allowed Trevor Howard to score Southwestern’s eighth and final run of the district clash.
Junior Wyatt Burton, who came in to relieve starting senior pitcher Brandon Tucker, earned the victory for the Warriors. Tucker, who went 4 1/3 innings, had three strikeouts. While earning the save, Starnes also had three strikeouts in two innings of work.
Southwestern, who finished with 13 hits as a team, had five players get multiple hits in the six-run victory over visiting McCreary Central - Stacey, Burchett, Profitt, Boils, and Thomas Howard. Eight of the ten batters who were sent to the plate for Southwestern, had at least one hit.
Burchett and Profitt each had doubles, while Thomas Howard finished with a triple and a game-high two RBI’s.
A night after a 6-1 loss to Russell County, Southwestern was able to bounce back with a victory to up their record to 16-4 on the year and a perfect 4-0 in district play.
The Warriors will be back in action tonight against Monticello in another 48th District match-up. First pitch is set for 6 p.m. at Warrior Stadium.
MC - 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 - 2 3 2
SW - 0 0 2 0 6 0 X - 8 13 1
WP - Burton (SW)
LP - Strunk (MC)
S - Starnes (SW)
2B - Burchett (SW)
3B - Thomas Howard (SW)
RBI - Kennedy (MC); Thomas Howard 2, Boils, Profitt, Trevor Howard, Starnes, Stacey, Burchett (SW)