FLOYDS KNOBS — Floyds Knobs Post 42 took the field in Sunday’s sweltering heat against Lafayette Post 11 with a 12-3 record thanks to an offense averaging 10.5 runs per game.
Lafayette entered what turned into a contentious doubleheader at Highlander Field with a 13-5 record thanks to a stellar pitching staff that includes recent high school graduates taking their pitching talents to Butler and Purdue.
The pitching got the job done and the Floyds Knobs’ lineup — which was without key starters Brady Latham and Devyn Rivers — got cooled off by Lafayette as Post 11 picked up a 7-3 win in the opener and a 7-2 extra-inning victory in the second game.
Butler-bound Blake Sargent held Post 42 in check in the first game and Purdue-signee Connor Ayers closed the door in the bottom of the ninth after coming out of the bullpen to end a Post 42 threat in the eighth.
“For us to come in here and hold them to three and two runs, that’s a pretty good day for us,” Lafayette manager Chad Dunwoody said. “Pitching and defense, that’s our thing.”
Post 42 was fighting to salvage a split and got a strong pitching effort from Blake Barrett, who tossed five innings of one-run ball, allowing just three hits and striking out five.
“We actually played defense behind him. We were error-free,” Post 42 assistant coach Lance Stock said.
However a couple errors proved costly in extra innings.
The game was tied 1-1 entering the top of the ninth when Lafayette took the lead on a Matt McCoy wild pitch. Then, Floyds Knobs catcher Aidan Minzenberger threw a ball into left field during a rundown to allow Post 11 to make it a three-run lead.
The inning spiraled into a six-run frame for Lafayette, making it a tough climb for the Post 42 offense in the bottom of the ninth. Post 42, though, did get one run off Ayers.
“It needs to be a definite wake-up call that there are teams that you have to perform non-stop the whole game [against], and we did not. They needed to be pushed to see how to react,” Stock said.
Post 42’s players were looking forward to the challenge of facing elite pitching as they prepare for state tournament play later this week.
“It’s good to see good pitching. Obviously not the way we want to make our way into the state tournament, but we’ll figure it out come Thursday,” Jack Ellis said. “In the second game, we let the emotions get to us. [We] kind of beat ourselves, getting in our own heads.”
Barrett and Joe Harrington had doubles in the first game and Blayden McMahel had a stolen base.
Of Floyds Knobs’ 10 hits on the day, five were for extra bases. McMahel had a double in the second game, along with Luke Stock, Kyle Leftwich and Barrett.
“We can’t hang our head. We’re playing people out of position today. We’ll get them back and compete a lot better with them,” Barrett said.
Floyds Knobs Post 42 returns to action Thursday in the Boonville Regional.
Lafayette takes some momentum into the postseason after splitting a doubleheader with Rockport on Friday.
“We know Rockport and Floyds Knobs are two of the best teams in the state and we thought, ‘If we’re ever going to do some damage in the state finals, we have to be able to beat teams like this,’” Dunwoody said. “I’m pretty happy, to win three out of these four, that’s a pretty good weekend considering the travel and heat.”