For the past couple of weeks, things had gone the way Southwestern wanted them to.
That was not the case in the first round game of the Rawlings/KHSAA State Baseball Tournament, as the Warriors just couldn’t seem to get a break in Monday evening’s game at Whitaker Bank Ballpark.
In the end, Alex Eaton and company would fall to Simon Kenton by a final tally of 2-1, bringing an end to Southwestern’s magical postseason run.
“The last two weeks, we got every break and every hit,” began Eaton. “Tonight, we hit a bunch of balls on the nose and didn’t come up with the hits we that we needed. That’s just baseball. We let a guy get to us, and we just didn’t stay back and let it get in the zone.”
The Pioneers of Simon Kenton, the champion of the 8th Region, jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the second frame thanks to a two-run single from Colton Downs. After reaching on singles to lead off the frame, Grant Wassom and Tyler Smith would each score on the big hit from Downs.
Southwestern would respond in the top half of the third inning after Hunter Cromer scooted from first base to home on a two-out triple to the outfield fence from Jacob Burchett. However, the Warriors would manage to only get one run, keeping Simon Kenton out front, 2-1.
Eaton and company threatened to score in the sixth frame, as the Warriors had two runners on base with a pair of outs. Trevor Howard, who reached on an error, advanced to third on a single from Lucas Turpin. Unfortunately, Southwestern would not be able to get that run across the plate.
The Warriors’ season would come to an end on a double play in the top of the seventh inning, giving the Pioneers the 2-1 win over Southwestern, the champion out of the 12th Region.
Simon Kenton, who had seven hits on the night, was led at the plate by Wassom and Downs, who both had two hits each in the first round victory.
Tristen Marcum, who went the distance for the Pioneers, earned the victory. In seven innings, Marcum gave up a lone run on five hits and had three strikeouts.
Southwestern had five hits on the evening, which came from Cromer, Burchett, Howard, Turpin, and Chris Lynch. Burchett and Howard both had triples in the game. Burchett also had an RBI in the loss to the Pioneers.
Vincent Boils, who pitched five innings for the Warriors, was saddled with the loss. Boils gave up two runs on seven hits and had four strikeouts in the contest.
Wyatt Burton gave up zero hits in his lone inning on the hill for Southwestern.
Things may not have ended the way Eaton and the Warriors wanted them to, but it was still a great 2014 season.
“There’s nothing to be discouraged about, but I hated that it had to end like this,” told the Warrior skipper. “We had a great season this year. We’ve won 54 games in the two years, had two district titles, one region runner-up, and a region title. I’m pretty sure about any coach in the state of Kentucky will take that.”
Eaton is proud of his team’s on-field accomplishments, but he is even more proud to be able to coach a great group of Christian men at Southwestern.
“Most of all, they are a great group of guys,” praised Eaton. “They are a bunch of good Christian people, and that’s why it’s so great to be a part of this team. It’s a great feeling to know that I can come to the ballpark and be around such great people. It’s an honor and a privilege to be able to coach baseball here at Southwestern.”
Southwestern, who finished as both 48th District and 12th Region champions, ended the 2014 season with an overall record of 27-13.
Simon Kenton, with the victory, will go on to play Hazard in the quarterfinals tonight at Whitaker Bank Ballpark.
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Simon Kenton 2, Southwestern 1
SW – 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 – 2 5 2
SK – 0 2 0 0 0 0 X – 1 7 1
3B – Howard, Burchett (SW)
RBI – Burchett (SW); Downs 2 (SK)
Runs scored – Cromer (SW); Wassom, Smith (SK – 2)
Hits – Cromer, Burchett, Howard, Turpin, Lynch (SW – 5); Downs 2, Smith 2, Kincaid, Wassom, Mundy (SK – 7)
Errors – SW 2, SK 1
Runners left on base – SW 4, SK 9
WP – Marcum (SK)
LP – Boils (SW)
Strikeouts – Boils 4 (SW); Marcum 3 (SK)