FLOYDS KNOBS —
On paper, it appeared that the Borden baseball team’s game at Class 4A No. 2 Floyd Central on Thursday was going to be bad news for the Braves.
On Wednesday, Borden suffered an 8-1 loss to Austin to fall to 2-3 on the season. Meanwhile, the Highlanders kept their undefeated record intact by defeating archrival New Albany, 12-4.
On Thursday at Highlander Field, however, the Braves proved they had a very effective short memory by pulling off one of the biggest upsets in the state.
Borden built an 8-1 lead after 4 1/2 innings and held on to surprise Floyd Central, 8-7.
“It was a good situation for us coming in obviously,” Borden coach Brian Agnew said. “We needed some help in order to get this done.”
Braves’ senior shortstop Garrett Vick said he and his teammates came in extremely focused, especially after the Austin setback.
“We knew Floyd Central was probably going to be the best team we’ve played all year. But we knew if we came out ready, we had a chance to beat them,” Vick said. “[On Wednesday], we were flat in warm-ups and we were just dead and we got our butts kicked.
“If you can beat team like this, the sky is the limit for us.”
Highlanders’ coach Casey LaDuke praised the Braves for their performance.
“Let’s give Borden a little credit. They are not bad. I knew they would be decent,” LaDuke said. “I don’t like making excuses — we didn’t play very well. We made [seven] errors and you can’t do that.
“This is baseball — this is what happens in baseball. No other sport is like it. You have a good team that comes in like Borden and plays well, they’ve got a chance to beat you.”
The Highlanders (6-1) committed an atypical seven errors, and the Braves (3-3) did a fantastic job of taking advantage of every miscue.
Borden went up 1-0 in the first inning when catcher Brian McGee scored from third base on a balk by Floyd Central starter Alex Koopman.
The lead grew to 5-0 in the third when the Braves tacked on four runs thanks to three hits and three Highlander errors.
Vick had the key hit in the frame. With none out and the bases loaded, Vick smacked a double to the right-center field wall against a drawn-in outfield to drive in two runs.
On the same play, starting pitcher Kyle Kruer came home on a throwing error to extend the Borden advantage to 4-0. Two batters later, the Braves’ Johnathan Knight plated Vick with an RBI single.
Floyd Central’s first run happened in the bottom of the third. Center fielder Aiden Cora came home on a throwing error.
Borden’s lead grew to 8-1 with three runs in the top of the fifth. With two outs and the bases loaded, Vick ran home on a passed ball by Floyd Central catcher Trey Fulton.
Shortly thereafter with the bases still full, McGee smacked an opposite-field single to left to knock in two more runs.
“We had some big hits. McGee’s hit down the line for that last bit of [scoring] was something we had to have,” Agnew said.
The Highlanders began their comeback in the bottom half. Floyd Central loaded the bases on singles by Cora and Mike Springer and Fulton getting hit by a pitch.
With two out, Borden center fielder Sam Beckort dropped a fly ball from the Highlanders’ Kyle Beach that allowed the Highlanders to clear the bases and cut their deficit to 8-4.
Floyd Central kept chipping away in the sixth. Cora collected an RBI single and later scored on a fielding error to pull the Highlanders to within 8-6. But McGee ended the inning by throwing out Springer at second on an attempted steal.
In the bottom of the seventh, Beach knocked in Colton Kimm from second with a one-out double to deep center to slice the Borden lead to 8-7.
The Highlanders stranded the tying run at second as Ross Lundy flew out to center and Phillip Archer grounded out to second.
Kruer got the victory in the complete-game effort. Of the seven runs he surrendered, only two were earned. He yielded nine hits and no walks, while striking out four.
Borden pitching coach Kyle Craig visited the mound a few times late in the game to keep Kruer under control.
“I just told him to calm down more than anything,” the former Braves’ standout said. “We knew they were a great hitting team, and we couldn’t rely on nothing but fastballs. His command of four pitchers was the only way we were going to win.”
McGee went 2-for-2 with two runs scored and two RBIs. Vick wound up 2-for-3, scoring a pair of runs and driving in two. Beckort redeemed himself in center after his fifth-inning error, as he caught five of Floyd Central’s final seven outs.
Cora went 3-for-3 with three runs scored and an RBI. Koopman got the loss on the mound. In three innings, the right-hander gave up five runs on five hits with on walk and no strikeouts.
“We’ll be fine. We’ve played real good ball this year so far,” LaDuke said. “But I think tonight opened some eyes and we’ll move on.”
Both teams will have doubleheaders on Saturday. Borden will host Class 3A No. 9 Charlestown, while the Highlanders will have a split twinbill at Scottsburg with the host Warriors and Jennings County.
BORDEN 8, FLOYD CENTRAL 7
Borden 104 030 0—8 6 4
Floyd Central 001 032 1—7 9 7
W — Kyle Kruer (2-1). L — Alex Koopman (1-1). 2B — Garrett Vick (B), Colton Kimm (FC), Kyle Beach (FC).
Records — Borden 3-3, Floyd Central 6-1.