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High School Sports

April 26, 2014

H.S. BASEBALL: Explosive offense leads Floyd to victory

Smith goes 3-for-3 with four runs, two RBIs in 10-6 win over Providence

FLOYDS KNOBS — Floyd Central’s bats continued to roll right along in the Highlanders’ 10-6 victory over Providence on Friday at Highlander Field.

Ten runs, 12 hits, five doubles, 17 baserunners — that’s becoming a pretty typical line for Class 4A No. 2 Floyd Central.

However, on Friday, it wasn’t facing a typical staff.

Every player in the Highlander lineup reached base against a pitching staff that was coming off back-to-back no-hitters and had been mystifying nearly every batter it faced during a 12-1 start.

“The offense has been good so far,” Highlander first baseman Ross Lundy said. “We’ve been just trying to put the bat on the ball and get runs in however we can.”

“We’ve been hitting good,” Floyd coach Casey LaDuke said. “When we’re disciplined at the plate and we do what we’re supposed to do, we’ve been hitting the ball all year. So we just have to keep that going.”

Providence coach Scott Hornung said Thursday he was looking forward to the challenge that the Highlanders would present. Despite the team’s second loss of the season, he liked what he saw from his young team.

“[I’m] encouraged,” Hornung said. “We battled and we kept fighting. We didn’t give in. I’m really excited to watch how this team’s going to grow.”

Floyd (10-2) showed Providence that the young Pioneer pitching staff was fallible from the start.

After not allowing a hit in two straight games, the Highlanders’ Mike Springer quickly ended the Pioneers’ streak with a leadoff single in the bottom of the second inning. Floyd catcher Trey Fulton followed with a single.

With one out, Brandon Smith singled into center field that gave the Highlanders a 1-0 lead. Smith finished the contest 3-for-3 with four runs scored, two RBIs and a pair of doubles.

“I was just seeing the ball well and balls were falling,” Smith said. “[Teammate] Colton [Kimm] is having a tough time with hitting the ball hard right at people. Luckily, I’m not hitting the ball at people and I’m getting on bases.”

With two outs, Lundy blasted a double to right-center that plated Fulton and Smith for a 3-0 Floyd advantage.

“It was a first-pitch fastball and I was just looking for a pitch I could drive,” Lundy said.

As it has throughout the season, the Highlander offense was able to give its team an early advantage it wouldn’t relinquish.

“[Getting an early lead is] big in any high school game,” LaDuke said. “You put three runs on somebody at the beginning, that was good to see.”

“It was important to jump on top of them,” Smith added. “We knew if we punched them in the mouth first, we could cruise the rest of the game.”

Floyd added two more runs in the third for a 5-0 lead. Kimm singled to left field and Smith drove him home with a double that one-hopped the left-field fence. With two out, Evan Jewell’s single plated Smith.

Jewell — the Highlanders’ No. 7 hitter — finished 2-for-3 with two runs driven in and another scored.

“Our lineup is doing great right now from top to bottom,” Smith said. “If one guy’s not hitting, they’re going to get picked up from somebody lower [in the lineup]. It’s a great lineup.”

The Class 2A No. 9 Pioneers (12-2) showed they weren’t done fighting.

Jacob Quinkert opened the fourth inning with a single. Floyd starter Kyle Beach, who allowed just one baserunner through four innings, then hit Jay Lorenz with an 0-2 pitch. With still nobody out and runners on first and second base, Spencer Pearson’s sacrifice bunt attempt was fielded by Fulton, who threw the ball into left field.

That loaded the bases for Bret Aria, who subsequently emptied them with a triple to the right-center fence. Aria was later thrown out at third by Fulton when Providence’s Juston Betz didn’t make contact with a suicide squeeze in motion. Still, the Pioneers cut the Floyd advantage to 5-3 with 2 1/2 innings still to play.

“They hit the ball, but we gave them three outs,” LaDuke said. “If we play defense, they don’t get their three runs.”

Floyd responded with four runs — all scored with two outs — in the bottom of the fifth to essentially put its rival away.

Smith started the rally with a one-out double and later scored on the Pioneers’ first of three errors in the frame. Jewell hit his second double to plate Lundy to make it 7-3. Jewell scored on Providence’s second error of the fifth and Aiden Cora drove home Austin Newell, who had reached on the error, for a 9-3 Highlander advantage.

“We gathered the team together and rallied everyone together and just said it’s time to cut down swings and just get the bat on the ball,” Lundy recalled. “That’s how we got our lead initially. We just wanted to focus and getting base hits and we got some.”

“We knew after they scored three runs, we had to come back and get some more runs on the board,” Smith said. “We had two or three with two outs and that was big.”

Providence had a chance to get out of the inning with no Highlander runs. But the Pioneer errors ended their chance for an upset.

“We had one mistake and it led to another and to another,” Hornung said. “We just couldn’t regroup ourselves.”

Floyd added a run in the bottom of the sixth on a Beach double that allowed Smith to score from first.

Providence responded with a three-run, four-inning seventh, which included a Pearson double and a RBI singles by Betz and Ben Shahroudi. However, Kimm, who took over in the seventh after Beach’s six-inning performance, got Jake Lewis and Austin Dickey to ground out to end the contest.

“We talked about it in the seventh inning — let’s put ourselves in a situation where we need two or three runs late in a game in the tournament,” Hornung said. “How are we going to muster those runs together? In the seventh, they were able to apply that. That’s encouraging.”

Lorenz and Pearson each scored two runs for Providence. Betz was 2-for-3 with a run and an RBI for the Pioneers, who go to Louisville to face St. Xavier on Monday.

Beach gave up four hits and two earned runs, while striking out six Pioneers in the victory. The Highlanders go to Evansville Harrison for a pair of games this afternoon.



Providence    000 030 3— 6  8 4

Floyd Central    302 041 x—10 12 1

    W — Kyle Beach. L — Cam Harvey. 2B — Spencer Pearson (P), Ross Lundy (F), Brandon Smith 2 (F), Evan Jewell (F), Beach (F). 3B — Bret Aria (P).

    Records — Providence 12-2, Floyd Central 10-2.

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