Any momentum gained by the Southwestern baseball team in Thursday’s 6-1 win over Whitley County quickly dissipated last night, when Rodney McAninch’s club kicked off play in its annual Warrior Classic.

Lincoln County’s Brandon Weller threw a complete game at Southwestern, scattering 7 hits in his 7 innings of work, en route to a 7-1 triumph over the Warriors, giving the Patriots their first win of the young season.

“The guy (Weller) just kept the ball around the plate a little bit, and we just didn’t hit it much, and when we did hit it, it was right on the nose and right at people,” pointed out McAninch, after his club fell to 1-3 with the loss.

Meanwhile, while the Warriors were having trouble generating any offense whatsoever, Lincoln County was getting clutch hit after clutch hit on its way to its first victory of the year.

Facing Southwestern starter and freshman Dustin Hughes, the Patriots took charge of this one early on, plating a single run in the second inning, adding two more runs in the top of the third, and blowing the game wide open with a three-spot in the top half of the fourth.

Weller helped his own cause by singling in the top of the second leading off the frame, and courtesy runner Jeremy Smith would later score the first run of the contest, thanks to back to back wild pitches from Hughes, after advancing to second base on a groundout.

In the third frame, Ryan Young doubled with one out, and scored on an RBI groundout off the bat of catcher Steve Middleton, giving the Pats a 2-0 advantage.

Later in the frame, Wes-Lee Cooper delivered an RBI single, giving Danny Masten’s club a 3-0 lead after two and a half innings of play — all coming off of Hughes.

“I’m not happy with Dustin Hughes, because I thought he could give me a better start than that, and he’s thrown better than that,” lamented McAninch.

“The mound might have been a little tacky — I’m just not sure, but he just never got comfortable out there,” added the SWHS coach. “They kept him in the stretch for much of the night and that kept him uncomfortable.”

Down 3-0, the Warriors plated their only run of the contest in the bottom half of the third, when T.T. Wooldridge led off the inning by reaching base on an error by Patriot shortstop Noah Keeton, and later scored on an RBI double from Josh Wilson.

Other than that, this game belonged to Lincoln County’s Weller, who kept the Warrior bats off balance for much of the evening.

In the fourth inning, Lincoln County blew this one wide open off of Aaron Hampton, another freshman pitcher, who came on in relief of Hughes.

And, it was the bottom of the Patriot order that got the rally started.

Lincoln County’s number eight hitter, right fielder Eric King greeted Hampton with a single, and the number nine hitter, left fielder Brian Riesenberg followed King with a double, putting runners on second and third with no one out.

That’s when the flood gates opened.

Keeton singled in one run, Young had a sacrifice fly to score another, and Keeton came home on a wild pitch from Hampton, and the Warriors, all of a sudden, found themselves out of this one, trailing the Patriots 6-1.

“Aaron Hampton came in after Dustin in the top of the fourth, and both of those kids are freshmen, but I expect better innings than that, but we didn’t get it tonight,” stated McAninch. “It’s going to be up and down, and the one thing that we can do to keep it consistent is to hit the ball, and we just didn’t do it tonight. Our bats were flat, and good things are just not going to happen. We’ve got to go in here and recover, because we’ve got two tough games ahead of us tomorrow against two very good ballclubs.”

The Pats tacked on one more run off of Hampton in the fifth inning, thanks to an RBI single from King, and that’s when Josh Sadler came on in relief, and was one of the few bright spots on the night from McAninch’s club.

Sadler threw three innings in relief, allowing the Patriots just one hit, while fanning 2 batters and walking 1.

With the loss, the Warriors fell to 1-3 on the season, and the task at hand doesn’t get any easier today, as the tournament continues.

The Warriors face seventh-ranked Louisville Male this morning at 10 a.m., and will play Scott County later this afternoon in the round-robin event.

And, if Southwestern is to make any headway whatsoever today against some pretty stiff competition, the Warrior skipper says his team is going to have to take a better approach at the plate in today’s contests.

“We want to be aggressive when the score dictates that we can,” said McAninch. “However, tonight, we were down four or five runs and our guys were hacking at bad pitches. You hate to send them up there with the take sign constantly, and I can do that, but you want guys that know enough to go up there and understand what they’ve got to do.”

The Warriors will take on Male this morning at 10 a.m., while Lincoln County will face the Bulldogs at 12:30 p.m. and Scott Count at 3 p.m.

The tourney will conclude at 5:30 p.m., when the host Warriors will face Scott County.


LCHS 7 10 1

SWHS 1 7 1

2B—Josh Wilson. RBI—Josh Wilson. WP—Brandon Weller. LP—Dustin Hughes

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