Game tight until sixth inning, when SWHS made their charge on way to 5-3 victory
By MICHAEL CHILDERS, CJ Correspondent Commonwealth Journal
After both Pulaski County and Southwestern had late-night games on Friday evening, the two clubs returned to diamond yesterday afternoon against one another in a cross-town match-up at PC Field.
Southwestern got the best of their sister school in the Saturday afternoon showdown, as the Warriors tallied two runs in the top of the sixth inning to sneak past the homestanding Maroons by a score of 5-3.
Alex Eaton, who is in his third year as the Warrior skipper, was pleased to see his team win the contest, but noted that his team wasn’t ready to play emotionally just over 12 hours after an 11-6 win at Garrard County.
“It was a big game, but I think we came in with the wrong attitude,” began Eaton. “We had a late night last night, but we just kind of showed up today. Emotionally, we just weren’t ready to play early on. When you get into cross-town rivalries, you never know what’s going to happen.”
The teams were deadlocked at 3-3 at the start of the sixth inning, but that would change when the Warriors took advantage of three Pulaski errors. Thanks to the trio of Maroon miscues in the sixth frame, Southwestern would take a 5-3 lead.
To lead off the frame, juniors Jesse Meece and Wyatt Burton both reached base on errors. Meece and eighth-grader Hunter Cromer, pinch-running for Burton, would each score on a double from sophomore Jacob Burchett.
Southwestern would hold on to the win the contest by a 5-3 margin, allowing them to bump their record up to 7-2 on the season. Pulaski, meanwhile, with the loss, fell to 3-5 in 2013.
Second-year Pulaski coach Danny Masten feels that if his team can execute some season’s end, they’ll be a tough match-up for anyone as long as they execute both offensively and defensively.
“We didn’t execute well defensively today - we threw the ball around a couple of times,” told Masten. “Offensively I thought we executed really well. We’ve seen four really good pitchers this week. Southwestern is a regional contender and we were neck and neck with them, so if we execute, I think we have a chance to win it.”
The Warriors jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the top of the second inning, as senior Thomas Howard, who singled himself, scored on a single from Meece. Southwestern added another run in the following frame, when Burchett scored on a single from freshman Trevor Howard.
Masten and crew knotted things up in the bottom of the second inning, as they scored a pair of runs to tie the contest up at 2-2. Eighth-grader Devin Vaught and senior Taylor Gover, who each singled to start the inning, would both score on a single from junior Aaron Smith.
Both the Warriors and the Maroons scored one run each in the fifth inning to make the score, 3-3. Junior Trevor Stacey, who got aboard on a single, tallied Southwestern’s third run of the game on a single from Trevor Howard. Pulaski’s third score of the contest came when junior Jacob ‘Gomer’ Denney on a double from senior Dustin Vaught.
Pulaski, who finished with eight hits on the afternoon, was led at the plate by Gover, who had two hits on the day. Smith finished with a team-high two RBI’s, while Vaught, who had an RBI, was the only Maroon player to get an extra-base hit.
Trevor Howard was the Warriors’ leading hitter on the day, as the freshman finished with three of Southwestern’s nine hits. Howard had three singles and two RBI’s.
Burchett chimed in with two hits and two RBI’s for Southwestern. Zack Profitt had the only extra-base hit for the Warriors, as he had a double.
Senior Logan Starnes got the victory for Southwestern. In his 5 2/3 inning performance, the Warrior senior had six strikeouts.
Pulaski traded in their maroon and white uniforms on Saturday for a color that has become popular around the county this year - yellow. The Maroons wore yellow t-shirts with the name ‘Elmore’ on the back of them, representing Pulaski Athletic Director Randy Elmore, who is currently battling cancer.
Elmore’s son, Hagan, threw out the first pitch prior to Saturday’s cross-town meeting between Southwestern and Pulaski.
Eaton wanted to send prayers to the Elmore family and commend the Pulaski program on honoring Elmore.
“Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Elmore family,” stated the Warrior coach. “As players and coaches, we all take baseball awful serious, probably too serious from time-to-time. I told the guys that sometimes we need to step back and realize the blessings we have in front of us, because things can happen just like that. We really respect what Pulaski’s done to try and recognize Randy Elmore - God bless them.”
The Maroons will spend the week away from Somerset, as they will be playing in the Seahawk Invitational in Hilton Head, South Carolina.
“We’re going over there to play four games against four really tough teams,” said Masten. “It’s a chance for us to get away from everything. We’ll get a chance to go down and work on things, and try to get better as a team. We’ve had three games in three days, and now that we’ll be able to go down to Hilton Head, it will help us getting for district play.”
Southwestern will return to action tomorrow night, when they will travel to Marion County to face the Knights.
SW - 0 1 1 0 1 2 0 - 5 9 2
PC - 0 0 2 0 1 0 0 - 3 8 4
WP: Starnes (SW)
LP: Wesley (PC)
2B: Profitt (SW); Dustin Vaught (PC)
RBI: Burchett 2, Trevor Howard 2, Meece (SW); Smith 2, Dustin Vaught (PC)