By JON REITER
FLOYDS KNOBS —
A walkoff RBI single by sophomore catcher Trey Fulton broke a 5-5 tie in the bottom half of the seventh inning and gave Floyd Central a win over Class 4A No. 2 Jeffersonville Wednesday at Highlander Field.
“It’s a good win for the kids, they’re a heck of a team,” Floyd Central coach Casey LaDuke said. “We beat them like this last season, but they came back and got us in the sectional. So we know what we might have to face with them again. But this is a good win and it kind of puts us on the map.”
Floyd Central (4-0) struck first when a wild pitch by starter Nick Gallagher plated Derek Despain, who reached base on a walk earlier in the inning and advanced to third, scoring with two outs.
The Red Devils took a 2-1 lead in the top of the third after a single from Drew Ellis scored Damin Smith and Matt Blackburn.
In the bottom of the third, the Highlanders posted four runs and didn’t trail for the rest of the contest.
After a fielder’s choice off the bat of Jacob Snodgrass scored Cody Sunderhaus to make it 2-2 with two outs, a sharp grounder off the bat of Colton Kimm took a bad hop and got past Jeffersonville second baseman Hayden Robb to score Despain and Kyle Neafus. Another single by Ross Lundy scored Kimm, and at the end of the inning, Floyd Central led 5-2.
“Hayden would be the first person to tell you he should have kept the ball in front of him,” Jeffersonville coach Derek Ellis said. “In those situations, you try and do that. I know the ball was hit very hard, but it was playable.”
The visitors chipped away at the lead, scoring on wild pitches from Floyd Central hurler Brandon Smith in the top of the fourth that scored Josh Burke and Damin Smith from third base.
The Red Devils tied the game at five when a Burke single scored Trent Astle in the top of the fifth inning.
In the bottom of the 7th, Snodgrass reached base with a single and advanced to second after a sacrifice by Neafus. With one out, Fulton’s single came sharply off the bat and landed in short right-center field, winning the game for the Highlanders.
Kyle Sipes, who is normally a starter for the Highlanders, worked a scoreless sixth and seventh innings to notch the win for Floyd Central. Chandler Dale, who pitched solidly in relief for the Red Devils, was handed the loss.
“He knew he’d be limited in the game tonight because he’s going to throw for us later in the week,” LaDuke said. “But we’ve got the kind of staff where we knew there’d be enough depth tonight if we needed it.”
“Nick didn’t have his best stuff, but that’s OK. He’ll work through it,” Ellis said of his starter Gallagher. “Chandler came in and really did a heck of a job and had them off balance a little bit, but he probably left that last pitch over the plate to Fulton just a little bit too much. But this is a learning experience and we’ll get better because of it.”
The 2-1 Red Devils host Castle tonight. Floyd Central next faces Northfield on Friday at Highlander Field.