By MICHAEL CHILDERS, CJ Correspondent
Thanks to a seven-run third inning, Southwestern was able to pull away from visiting Somerset to win by an 8-2 margin last night at Warrior Stadium.
After leading 1-0 to begin the inning, the homestanding Warriors plated seven runs on seven hits in the third frame to jump out to an 8-0 lead. That big inning would propel Alex Eaton’s ball club to a six-run victory, allowing them to move their record to a 12th Region best 19 wins and four losses.
“I’m really proud of our guys tonight,” began Eaton, who is in his third year as the Warrior skipper. “We had that one inning there where (Charlie) Dishman wasn’t himself. As a baseball team, you’ve got to take advantage that - and we did. We just kept putting runs across the plate.”
Southwestern struck first in this one, when senior Thomas Howard scored on an RBI single from sophomore Jacob Burchett in the bottom of the second inning. Burchett’s RBI single allowed the Warriors to grab an early, 1-0 advantage over the Briar Jumpers.
In the following inning, the Warriors sprayed the ball all over the field for seven runs on seven hits. The biggest hit of the frame came from Burchett, who delivered once again with a two-run double. Along with Burchett, senior Logan Starnes and freshman Trevor Howard had doubles in the inning.
In the second inning alone, the Warriors had seven hits of their nine hits, which was one more hit than Somerset had in the entire ballgame (six).
“They hit the ball hard today, so they deserved to put up runs,” told veteran Jumper coach Phil Grundy. “When you’re swinging the bat aggressively at strikes, you will get those hits. Our problem is that we get down in the count and look at a lot of first pitch fastballs. That’s kind of been our weakness all year.”
Somerset tallied their only two runs of the contest in the top of the sixth inning, cutting the Southwestern lead to six runs at 8-2. Freshman Logan Combs, pinch running for junior Bryson Jones, scored the Jumpers’ first run of the evening on a sacrifice from senior Heath Ehrsam. Sophomore Caleb Dockery, who was walked, would score on an RBI single from junior Jacob Pelston.
Grundy noted that last night’s cross-town match-up with Somerset was a regional type atmosphere. Unfortunately for the Jumpers, they failed to match the Warriors’ intensity.
“This was a regional tournament type ballgame - you had two great pitchers going at it,” said Grundy. “It was a region mentality game tonight, and we didn’t match their intensity level in the first three innings. I feel like if we would have come out and made a few plays to keep them off base, and Charlie throws a few more strikes, it’s a different ballgame.”
Dishman, who pitched the first three innings for Somerset, had three strikeouts in the setback to Southwestern. The Somerset senior pitcher gave up nine runs on eight hits. Sophomore Chandler Purcell had a pair of strikeouts in two innings of work.
At the dish, the Jumpers were led by the bat of junior Addison Thompson, who had a team-high two hits. Pelston, Ehrsam, Purcell, and Will Hislope chimed in with a hit.
Starnes, who gave up a pair of runs on six hits, earned the victory for the Warriors. In six innings on the hill, the senior had nine strikeouts. Burchett, who got the save, struck out two batters in the seventh and final inning.
Southwestern, at the plate, was led at the plate by the pair of Starnes and Burchett, who both had two hits each. Burchett had a game high three RBI’s and a double, while Starnes had a double and a lone RBI.
The Warrior head coach was more than happy with the play of his team last night.
“We had been playing like a bunch of dogs for about a week and a half,” Eaton stated. “I questioned them after we played Friday night, and I told them that we had taken three or four steps back. The greatest thing about this team is that they are coachable. This is the most coachable team that I’ve ever had - and it’s showing.”
Southwestern, now 19-4 on the season, will travel to Stearns tonight to face the McCreary Central Raiders in a 48th District match-up.
The Jumpers, who fell to 16-9 overall with the loss, will host regional foe West Jessamine tomorrow evening at 6 p.m. at Charlie Taylor Field.
SHS - 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 - 2 6 1
SW - 0 1 7 0 0 0 X - 8 9 3
W - Starnes (SW)
L - Dishman (SHS)
S - Burchett (SW)
2B - Burchett, Starnes, Trevor Howard (SW)
RBI - Pelston, Ehrsam (SHS); Burchett 3, Stacey, Starnes, Trevor Howard, Thomas Howard (SW)