By MICHAEL CHILDERS, CJ Correspondent
Coming into Tuesday night’s 48th District showdown between Wayne County and Southwestern, the two district rivals found themselves atop the standings with the best records in the entire 12th Region.
The homestanding Southwestern Warriors put on a display that they were the better team on Tuesday evening at Warrior Stadium, as they stunned the visiting Wayne County Cardinals in five innings by a score of 11-1.
Warrior head coach Alex Eaton had a special feeling when he arrived at the ballpark that his team was going to have a big game - and they did.
“I’m so proud of the guys for showing up the way they did and with the mindset that they had,” began the third-year Warrior skipper. “When you’re around the guys so much, you learn to know when they’re zoned in. I knew that they were locked in prior to the game - and it showed. I’ve been really proud of the way these guys have been playing over the past couple of days.”
Southwestern used a five-run first inning to jump out to an early lead over the Cardinals. From the point on, the Warriors never looked back, allowing them to grab a ten-run victory to move to 13-2 on the year, and more importantly, 1-0 in district action. Also with the victory, Eaton and crew upped their winning streak to eight consecutive games.
Junior Trevor Stacey (hit by pitch) tallied the Warriors’ first run of the night on a single from freshman Trevor Howard. Senior Logan Starnes, who was also hit by a pitch, put the Warriors up 2-0 after scoring on a single from fellow senior Zack Profitt.
Trevor Howard’s run gave the Warriors a three-run lead, after he scored on a single from freshman Lucas Turpin. Both Turpin and junior Jesse Meece (walk) would round the bases on a double from freshman Vincent Boils. After Boils’ two-run double, Southwestern led, 5-0.
The Warriors added three runs in the bottom half of second frame to run out to an 8-0 advantage over Wayne County. Stacey, who led off the inning with a triple, just like the first inning, once again scored on a single from Trevor Howard. Both Trevor Howard and Profitt, who singled to right field, were able to score on a double from Meece to put the Warriors ahead by eight runs.
Wayne County scored their first - and only - run of the evening in the top of the third inning on a wild pitch. Southwestern failed to score any runs in the bottom half of the frame, keeping the score at 8-1.
After not scoring any runs in the third frame, Southwestern tacked on two more runs to the total in the bottom of the fourth inning, allowing them to pull out to a 10-l lead over the Cardinals. Turpin, who got aboard on a single, scored on Boils’ second double of the evening. Middle schooler Hunter Cromer, pinch-running for Boils, was able to score on a double from senior Thomas Howard.
Heading into the bottom portion of the fifth inning, Southwestern needed just one run to end the game due to the ten-run mercy rule. The Warriors got that run, as Profitt led off the frame with a double. Junior Austin Bubnick, who was brought in to pinch-run for Profitt, scored the game-ending run on an RBI single from Turpin.
After the dust had settled, Southwestern had beaten their district rival in five innings by a score of 11-1. In the ten-run win, the Warriors banged out 13 hits.
If Southwestern continues to play they way they are playing at the moment, the rest of the 12th Region better watch out for the boys in blue and orange.
“It’s one game at a time, one day at a time,” continued Eaton. “My main focus is that we get better every time we step on the field. If we continue to do that, I like our chances. We’ve got to keep getting better each day we’re out on the field. If we quit striving to get better, that’s when the wheels start falling off.”
Both Trevor Howard and Turpin led the way for the Warriors at the plate, as each player had three hits each. Howard had a double and two RBI’s, while Turpin joined in with a pair of RBI’s. Boils had a huge night at the dish as well, as she finished with three RBI’s on two doubles.
Starnes, who went the distance for the Warriors, gave up two hits and one run, while having seven strikeouts in the five-inning performance. More importantly, Starnes got the victory.
“Logan wasn’t as sharp as he has been, but he has heart,” told the Warrior coach. “He got into a couple of jams, but he just kept battling all-game long and worked himself out of it. You’ve got to give him a lot of credit. He gave us a chance to win tonight.”
Southwestern will look to win their ninth game in a row tonight, when they will travel to Stearns to face the McCreary Central Raiders in a 48th District match-up. First pitch is slated for 5:30 p.m.
WC - 0 0 1 0 0 - 1 2 0
SW - 5 3 0 2 1 - 11 13 2
WP: Starnes (SW)
LP: Miniard (WC)
2B: Boils 2, Trevor Howard, Profitt, Meece, Thomas Howard (SW)
3B: Stacey (SW)
RBI: Boils 3, Trevor Howard 2, Turpin 2, Meece 2, Profitt, Thomas Howard (SW)