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April 30, 2013

H.S. BASEBALL: Barnett pitches Silver Creek past Pioneers

Dragons’ right-hander throws two-hit shutout in 6-0 win at Providence

SELLERSBURG — Silver Creek starting pitcher Lucas Barnett came very close to pitching the first no-hitter in his high school career on Tuesday evening at Memorial Field.

Still, the Dragons’ senior right-hander tossed one of the best gems in the Clark-Floyd area in the 2013 season.

Barnett threw a stellar two-hit shutout to lead Class 3A No. 5 Silver Creek past Class 2A No. 7 Providence, 6-0.

“I just tried to attack them with a first-pitch strike, and then from that point on locate the fastball and get ahead,” Barnett said. “I tried to set them up with a breaking ball or keep the ball low so they can ground out.”

Barnett struck out eight and walked none and did a great job of mixing his pitches and hitting spots with his fastball. Six of the eight Pioneers he fanned struck out looking. Barnett only worked the count to three balls against two Providence batters. Those were the final two hitters of the game.

“It was definitely Lucas’ day. He pitched an outstanding game,” Pioneers’ coach Scott Hornung said. “He threw so many strikes. He kept pounding the strike zone with multiple pitches. He just dominated us today off the mound.

“He deserved that win for sure today. He pitched well.”

The Pioneers (11-4) grounded out 11 times against Barnett, and they hit only four balls out of the infield. Silver Creek’s defense committed no errors.

“He located well and he got ahead of hitters,” Dragons’ coach Joe Decker said. “The biggest thing he did was he threw for contact. He didn’t try to strike everybody out. He was just working on throwing strikes early and did not get behind hitters, and that was the biggest difference. He kept the ball down and when they saw a fastball, they were just kind of waving at it and put it in play.”

Barnett had a perfect game until the bottom of the sixth inning. With two out, Providence’s No. 9 hitter, Drew Campbell, hit a single to center field to end Barnett’s perfect-game bid. Barnett rebounded by forcing Ben Shahroudi to ground out to the pitcher to end the frame.

Before Campbell’s base hit, Barnett said he got distracted by a fan who recognized his perfect-game bid.

“I heard someone in the stands yell, ‘There’s a no-hitter,’” Barnett said. “I didn’t really realize it. I was just going out, pitching and having fun. But when he said it, I said, ‘Holy [cow] — I’ve got a no-hitter going.’ Then I threw a fastball down the middle and he hit it right back at me.”

In the bottom of the seventh, Barnett gave up a two-out double to shallow left by Providence clean-up batter Justin Starr. The next batter, Tyler Simms, ended the game by flying out to center.

“I was getting tired, but it was not something I’ve been through before,” said Barnett, whose record improved to 4-2.

Silver Creek’s first run came in the second inning. With runners on first and second base with two out, Providence committed an error on a Drew Sherrow grounder to allow Brayden Ware to score from second.

The Dragons (14-3) went up 2-0 in the top of the fourth. Ware smacked an RBI single to center off Pioneer starter Andrew Hunt to plate Shae Durham from second.

Silver Creek tacked on another score in the fifth to go up three runs. After the Dragons’ Layne Taylor and Jamie Valvano executed a double steal, Taylor scored from third with one out on a 1-1 wild pitch by Hunt, who this week signed his letter-of-intent to play baseball at Bellarmine beginning next season.

Silver Creek put the game away in the sixth with three runs. Pinch-runner Shawn Pezullo came home on a fielder’s choice from third. Then Valvano collected a two-out double to left-center to knock in Cody Razer and Taylor.

The Dragons were aggressive on the basepaths throughout the game, as they had eight stolen bases. Six of the eight steals came against Hunt, who was pulled for reliever Ryan Mueller prior to the top of the sixth.

“I thought our guys did a good job of reading [Hunt’s pickoff move], and we did a good job with situational running,” Decker said.

Two Dragons had a multihit game. Valvano went 2-for-3 with two RBIs and two stolen bases. Ware was 2-for-4 with a run scored, an RBI and a stolen base. Taylor scored twice and stole two bases.

“Today, we were better,” Decker said. “Over the past two weeks, I didn’t think we played very well at all. Even the games we won, we didn’t play well. Today was our best effort by far. There was a lot more focus and a lot more hustle.”

Hunt pitched five innings in picking up his third loss of the season. He gave up three runs (two earned) on five hits, striking out six and walking two.

“His day was good. I mean he pitched well,” Hornung said. “Unfortunately, the run in the second was a bad-hop error. I thought his performance was good today. They just kept nit-picking and nit-picking and getting runners here and there and then stealing bases. They really stole bases on us tonight and gave us a hard time there. But I thought he pitched well.”

Silver Creek will visit North Harrison on Thursday for a crucial Mid-Southern Conference game. Providence travels to Madison today.

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