By JON REITER
Henryville avenged a first-round sectional defeat to Clarksville last season by turning back the Generals in the first round of the Class 2A Providence Sectional on Wednesday night at Memorial Field, 9-3.
The Hornets (14-10) used timely hitting and a strong effort by pitcher Cody Reister to gain the victory. After Clarksville scored three runs to open the fourth inning, Henryville blew past the Generals by scoring three runs in the bottom of the fourth, one run in the fifth and four in the sixth.
“We’ve really struggled the last four games or so getting timely hits and putting the ball in play — we haven’t been doing it,” Henryville coach Jeff Schroeder said. “We stressed that — make contact. Kids get tight during tournament time. Make them make plays. And really that’s what opened the game up for us.”
The Generals (6-19) committed six errors during the contest, including three in the sixth inning that allowed Henryville to blow open the contest.
Compounding Clarksville’s troubles was the fact that pitchers Will Copas and Wyatt Kissel committed three balks, two of which allowed Henryville runners to score.
Meanwhile, the Hornets, who will face Paoli Saturday morning in semifinal play at Providence, pounded out 10 hits and received a like number of Clarksville strikeouts off the arm of the senior right-hander Reister (8-4).
Reister’s only real struggles came in the top of the fourth, when he gave up an inside-the-park home run to Nate Jones and an RBI single to Justin Lind with two outs that allowed Clarksville to capture a 3-0 lead.
Reister came back in the top of the fifth to strike out Scott Adams and Brandon Harding and retired Jones on a fly to center field. Reister cruised the rest of the way.
“I tried to get ahead in the counts early and know that I had guys behind me that were going to make plays,” Reister said. “If the guys behind you are playing well behind you, it really brings up your confidence as a pitcher.”
Left fielder Tyler Pace went 2-for-3 for the Hornets with an RBI, and third baseman Dakota Harrell also went 2-for-3.
Because of Paoli’s graduation ceremony later Saturday afternoon, the start time for Saturday’s semifinals at Providence have been moved up. Henryville will play Paoli at 9 a.m., and Providence will face Eastern in Game 2 around 11 a.m.
The championship contest is still slated to begin at 7 p.m.