By MICHAEL CHILDERS, CJ Correspondent
With a 4-2 victory over Clay County on Friday night at Warrior Stadium, the Southwestern Warriors moved their record into double digits, as they now stand at 10-2 on the season. Also with the win, Alex Eaton’s club upped their winning streak to six straight games.
The two-run win over Clay County is the Warriors’ second of the year. Southwestern traveled to Manchester on March 16th and downed the Tigers in five innings by a score of 13-3.
Southwestern used a trio of pitchers to help get to victory, as Logan Starnes, Wyatt Burton, and Jacob Burchett, all made an appearance in the two-run victory over the visiting Tigers.
Eaton, who is in his third year as the Southwestern skipper, was more than thrilled with the three pitchers who took the mound in the Warriors’ tenth victory of the season.
“I’m proud of all the guys who pitched for us tonight,” began Eaton. “Our plan for Logan was to throw three innings, maybe four tops - we were going off of total pitch count. We got lucky and had some innings with just a few pitches, which allowed him to go to the fifth. Wyatt came in for us and was phenomenal. He is kind of that bridge guy that gets us to the end. Jacob Burchett did what he’s done all-year in the final inning.”
Starnes, the Warriors’ number one pitcher, got the start, pitching the first five innings of the game. In his five-inning outing, the senior gave up zero hits and had seven strikeouts.
The Tigers struck first in the contest, as Nathaniel Huff scored on a double steal in the top of the second frame. Huff's score allowed Clay County to jump out to a 1-0 lead over the homestanding Warriors.
Southwestern would tie the ballgame up at one apiece in the bottom of the third inning, when Burchett scored on a sacrifice fly from freshman Trevor Howard. The Warriors had the bases loaded with zero outs, but one run was all the damage they could do in the frame.
In the bottom portion of the fifth inning, the Warriors put a trio of runs across the plate to grab a 4-1 advantage over Clay County. Burchett, who reached on a single, scored his second run of the night after breaking the 1-1 tie after scoring on a wild pitch. Starnes (single) and Trevor Howard (hit by pitch) each scored on a double from freshman Lucas Turpin.
Clay County cut the Warrior lead to two runs in the top of the sixth frame, when Trevor Sams reached home on a double from Tyler Allen with two outs. After surrendering another double to Austin Carrahan, Burton struck out Huff for the third out, keeping the Tigers from scoring.
Burchett pitched the seventh and final inning for the Warriors, where he struck out one batter.
Southwestern had four players who had multiple hits on a night when the Warriors had nine hits in the contest. Burchett, Starnes, Trevor Stacey, and Vincent Boils, all had two hits apiece for the Warriors, while Turpin chimed in with a two-run double.
One thing that has been an Achilles’ heel for the Warriors in 2013 has been their intensity level. For the Warriors to be successful, Eaton stressed that his ball club must come to the ballpark ready to play.
“Our intensity level has got to get better in the dugout,” told Eaton. “I’m not sure what the problem is, but we’ve got to fix it. I feel like we’ve had a decent start to the year, but our intensity level isn’t what it should be. It’s not like football, where you play once a week and everyone is pumped. In baseball, you play every day. The difference between excellent and good, is heart, desire, and attitude, because the emotional part will take them where they want to go.”
Southwestern traveled to Mt. Vernon yesterday to take on the Rockcastle County Rockets. The Warriors are scheduled to play at Danville tomorrow night and then return home to the friendly confines of Warrior Stadium on Tuesday evening, when they will host 48th District rival Wayne County.
CC - 0 1 0 0 0 1 0 - 2 4 1
SW - 0 0 1 0 3 0 X - 4 9 4
WP - Starnes (SW)
LP - Garrison (CC)
2B - Allen, Carrahan (CC); Turpin (SW)
RBI - Allen (CC); Turpin 2, Trevor Howard (SW)