By MICHAEL CHILDERS, CJ Correspondent
Less than 24 hours posting 18 runs in an 18-0 victory over Clinton County, Southwestern struggled to put runs across the plate in their match-up with South Laurel.
In a Saturday afternoon showdown against the Cardinals of South Laurel at Warrior Stadium, the Warriors managed to only put one run up on the scoreboard in a 4-1 loss.
Warrior skipper Alex Eaton told his squad that they would need to come out and play 100-percent against the Cardinals on Saturday, but they failed to do so.
“I told the guys after the game that the real test came today against South Laurel,” began the third-year Warrior coach. “We had juniors and seniors that showed up ten minutes late for batting practice, which shows no leadership. You could tell before the game that this was going to happen, because the guys showed no life during batting practice.”
Southwestern opened the season with a dominating win over Clinton County, but that didn’t carry over into Saturday’s match-up with the defending 13th Region champions. In fact, the Warriors managed to score a lone run and get three hits in the three-run loss to South Laurel.
“When you’re 16, 17, or 18 years old, you look at a scoreboard and you see that you beat someone 18-0 - that’s all you see,” Eaton explained. “They don’t understand how we scored those 18 runs. We didn’t come out hitting screamers to score 18 runs - that’s an impressive night if you do that. We didn’t do a whole lot to beat Clinton County.”
Wynn Harris’ Cardinals struck first in this one, as Alex Sears blasted a two-run home run over the left field fence in the top of the third inning. Sears’ homer put the Cardinals out front, 2-0.
South Laurel’s Trey Martin tallied their third run of the afternoon on a fielder’s choice from Trent Abner in the top of the fourth inning to extend their lead to 3-0.
For the third consecutive frame the Cardinals would tally a run, as Daniel Neal hit the team’s second home run of the night. Neal’s blast put the Cardinals ahead by four runs at 4-0 after 4 ½ innings in the books.
The Warriors would score their first and only run of the ballgame in the bottom half of the fifth inning, when Zack Profitt, who reached on a fielder’s choice, scored on an error to make the score, 4-1, in favor of the visiting Cardinals.
Southwestern, who finished with three hits in the game, was led by the performance of senior Logan Starnes, who had two hits in the loss. Freshman Trevor Howard also tallied a hit in the contest for the Warriors.
The Cardinals finished with five hits, led by a two-hit performance from Sears, which included a home run. Neal and Joe Gaines each came up with a hit in the win over Southwestern.
On the hill, Starnes was saddled with the loss. In 3 1/3 innings of work, the seniors gave up two runs on three hits, while having six strikeouts. Howard, who finished the game off for the Warriors, gave up two runs on a lone hit and had four strikeouts.
For the Warriors, a lack of leadership played a big role in the loss.
“You could tell this was coming, and it starts with our seniors - they did a poor job today,” told Eaton. “They’ve been good all-year, but today was not good. If they continue to show the same amount of leadership they showed today, this will continue to happen.”
For the Warriors to be a successful bunch, they must swing the bat, according to Eaton.
“I think we’ve got a lot of young guys who are timid at the plate, taking fast ball after fast ball after fast ball,” said the Warrior baseball coach. “You can’t do that in this game, you’ve got to go up there swinging.”
Southwestern’s game against Rockcastle County on Monday was cancelled due to rain. The Warriors’ (1-1) next contest will be on Friday, March 15, when they will face Whitley County at 5:30 p.m. at Warrior Stadium.
SL 0 0 2 1 1 0 0 - 4 9 0
SW 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 - 1 2 3
WP: Martin (SL).
LP: Starnes (SW).
HR: Sears, Neal (SL).
RBI: Sears 2, Abner, Neal (SL).