By MICHAEL CHILDERS, CJ Correspondent
Following a 20-plus minute rain delay in the middle of the third inning, Southwestern head coach Alex Eaton told his team that it was a whole new ballgame. Eaton was right.
When the rain delay occurred, Pulaski County and Southwestern were knotted up at 1-1. After the rain delay, the homestanding Warriors were a whole new team, as they plated five runs over the remainder of the ballgame to win by a final tally of 6-1.
After playing poorly the first trip of innings, the third-year Warrior skipper was glad to see his team come out on top against their sister school in the fifth annual Breast Cancer Awareness Game yesterday afternoon at Warrior Stadium.
“We played terrible the first three innings before the rain, and maybe even the first four,” began Eaton. “We threw the ball all over the place, we made stupid plays, and we didn’t execute. When we execute, we usually come out on top, but early on we didn’t execute at all. At this point in the season, it’s unacceptable.”
After a scoreless fourth inning, the score remained tied at 1-1. That would all change in the bottom of the fifth frame, when Southwestern plated four runs to jump out to a four-run, 5-1 advantage over the visiting Maroons.
Southwestern went ahead, 3-1, after Jacob Burchett and Logan Starnes singled to begin the frame, Trevor Howard hit a double to right field that allowed those pair of players to score. Trevor Howard would score on the next at-bat, as Zack Profitt singled to right field to put the Warriors ahead, 4-1. Profitt tallied Southwestern’s fifth run of the game on an error.
The Warriors added another run in the sixth inning to take a 6-1 lead over Pulaski. With two outs on the board, Trevor Stacey was able to score on a single from Starnes.
Starnes had a big game for Southwestern, both at the plate and on the pitcher’s mound. At the dish, the Warrior senior had a game-high three hits, which included a double and an RBI. Starnes, who pitched all seven innings, gave up one run on two hits and had six strikeouts.
For Pulaski, Aaron Smith was saddled with the loss. In six innings on the hill, the Pulaski junior gave up six runs on nine hits, but did have three strikeouts.
After a huge week of big wins over three top 25 teams (West Jessamine, South Laurel, and Russell County), it wasn’t the best of games for the Maroons, who fell to 16-9 with the loss and had their seven-game winning streak snapped.
“We had a really good week and beat some really good teams,” began second-year Pulaski coach Danny Masten. “We had another game today against a really good Southwestern team, but we didn’t match their intensity. If you don’t bring it, that’s liable to happen to you. After four big wins this week, we had a little bit of a letdown.”
The Maroons jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the second inning, when Henry Lorman scored on an RBI single from Jacob ‘Gomer’ Denney. Southwestern would answer with a run in the third frame, when Stacey scored on a wild pitch to tie the game up at one apiece.
With Mother Nature not cooperating yesterday, the turnout for the annual Breast Cancer Awareness Game wasn’t what it usually was. Despite the poor weather, a baseball game was played and money was raised for the cause.
“We are glad that we got to come out and play for a good cause today,” told Masten. “This game is always special, and we hope that anyone who has been touched by breast cancer will get something out of this - it’s a great cause.”
“This was supposed to be a special day for us with the Breast Cancer Awareness Game going on,” said Eaton. “It’s usually a huge turnout, but the people weren’t here at the game. It’s days like today that it’s a nightmare to be a baseball coach, because you don’t want any of the players from either team to get hurt.”
Pulaski is scheduled to return to action on Monday night, hosting McCreary Central at PC Field at 5:30 p.m. Southwestern, who moved to 22-5 on the year with the win, will travel to Campbellsville on Monday evening.
PC - 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 - 1 2 1
SW - 0 0 1 0 4 1 X - 6 9 1
W - Starnes (SW)
L - Smith (PC)
2B - Starnes, Trevor Howard, Burton (SW)
RBI - Denney (PC); Trevor Howard 2, Starnes, Profitt, Boils (SW)