By MICHAEL CHILDERS, CJ Correspondent
Prior to their cross-town match-up with Southwestern, Somerset seniors Parth Patel and Heath Ehrsam were honored for their years of hard work with Senior Night festivities.
Patel and Ehrsam continued to shine on their special night at the ballpark, as the pair of Briar Jumper seniors played a pivotal role in Somerset’s 3-1 victory over the Warriors last night at Charlie Taylor Field.
Leading Southwestern by a score of 2-1 in the bottom of third frame, Ehrsam drilled a ball to the right center field wall for a two-out double. Patel followed up his senior counterpart with an RBI single to the right field grass that allowed pinch-runner Justin Smith to score, putting Phil Grundy’s club out front by a pair of runs at 3-1.
Ehrsam would continue to make a difference in the cross-town rivalry game. The senior kept the Warriors in check over the remainder of the contest, as he gave up two hits and struck out four Southwestern batters in the final four innings of action to keep his club out front.
It was a special night for the two Somerset seniors, a Senior Night that they certainly won’t forget for quite some time.
“Parth came up with a big RBI single and Heath got that inning going with a two-out double,” told Grundy. “The seniors really contributed tonight - it’s been a pleasure to coach those two guys.”
The Warriors jumped out to a 1-0 in the opening frame, when sophomore Jacob Burchett, who singled to lead off the game, scored on a wild pitch. Unfortunately for Southwestern, that would be the only time a Warrior player would put a run across the plate.
Third-year Warrior skipper Alex Eaton felt that his team didn’t even show up last night in the two-run setback to Somerset.
“I feel like we just showed up here and went through the motions,” Eaton said. “On a scale of 1-10, we played at a zero. When you don’t come ready to play, you get beat - it’s that simple. Our nine guys on the field were dead and the players in our dugout were dead until the sixth inning, but it’s too late at that point. We deserved to get beat tonight.”
Somerset took a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the second inning thanks to an error from the Warriors. Smith, pinch-running for Ehrsam, and Kenny Spear (single) both scored on an overthrow with two outs on the board to give the Jumpers their first lead of the evening.
For Southwestern to win the school’s second 12th Region championship, they must play perfect. As Eaton stated following the game, they didn’t play perfect last night at Charlie Taylor Field.
“To win the region, we’ve got to be perfect - we weren’t perfect tonight,” stated the Southwestern coach. “This is a region-type game, and we may play each other in two weeks at the regional tournament. If we’re not perfect we’ll come out on the losing side, but if we execute we’ll have a much better chance at winning.”
The Jumpers, meanwhile, have continually improved from game-to-game on the defensive side, which was something that hurt them earlier in the year. With an improved defense, Somerset has now won five games in a row and 11 of their 13 last outings.
“We’re starting to play better defensively,” praised Grundy. “I think the last three or four games, we’ve only had one error. That’s pretty good considering we were averaging three or four errors a game. It was a great game for us after they beat us a couple of weeks ago - this is a big win for us.”
Logan Starnes, who pitched five innings for the Warriors, was saddled with the loss. In the setback, the senior gave up three runs on three hits and had seven a game-high seven strikeouts.
Of Southwestern’s seven hits on the evening, Burchett and Trevor Stacey - the first two hitters in the Warrior line-up - came away with two hits apiece. Starnes, Lucas Turpin, and Vincent Boils all had a lone hit in the game.
Somerset had three hits in the game, which came from Ehrsam, Patel, and Spear. Ehrsam, who pitched all seven innings for the Jumpers, gave up a lone run on seven hits and fanned six batters.
Both Somerset and Southwestern will be on the road Thursday evening. The Jumpers, who upped their record to 21-10 with the victory, will look to avenge a loss to West Jessamine. Southwestern, now 22-7 on the season, will attempt to bring a halt to their two-game losing skid against Boyle County.
SW - 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 - 1 7 1
SHS - 0 2 1 0 0 0 X - 3 3 0
W - Ehrsam (SHS)
L - Starnes (SW)
2B - Turpin (SW); Ehrsam (SHS)
RBI - Thompson, Patel (SHS)