Sullivan opens baseball sectional with win over Brown County
ELLETTSVILLE — Sullivan demonstrated “patience is a virtue” for two days and two innings in its oft-delayed opener of the Class 3A Owen Valley baseball sectional on Thursday.
To wit, the Golden Arrows were rained out on Wednesday, then their venue was switched from Owen Valley to Edgewood due to wet grounds on Thursday.
Once the game got underway, it took two scoreless innings for the Arrows to gain their bearings. But once those bearings were located, it was off to the races.
Sullivan plated four runs in the third, two more in the fourth, then blew it wide open with a seven-spot in the fifth inning to breeze past Brown County 13-0 in a game shortened to five innings via the 10-run rule.
“Just good at bats, good approaches all the way through … we talked about putting the ball in play and putting pressure on their defense,” Sullivan coach Tony Steimel said.
“I felt top to bottom, one through nine, everybody contributed today. They all ought to feel good on the way home.”
Indeed, eight of the nine Sullivan starters had a base hit — pounding out 11 hits overall. They were also aggressive on the basepaths, stealing five bases and took advantage of four Eagles’ errors.
In the third, Eli Steimel led off with a walk, went to second on a delayed steal, then scored on a Kyle Vernelson single. Jack Conner, Alex Cooks and Bray Foster followed with RBIs for a 4-0 lead.
In the fourth, Max Mize singled, then his courtesy runner scored on a double by Kaleb Thrasher. The other tally scored on a errant pickoff attempt by the Eagles pitcher to go up 6-0.
In the fifth, the Arrows sent 12 batters to the plate, with Steimel driving in two runs, while Kyle Vernelson, Cam Walters, Karter Vernelson and Foster each drove in one run. The seventh tally scored on yet another error.
Cooks, the winning pitcher, tossed four scoreless innings, allowing only one hit, with three walks and three strikeouts.
Braedon Nichols threw a scoreless fifth inning, giving up one hit, with one walk and one strikeout.
Coach Steimel was pleased with the pitching, both well within pitch count limits going forward in the sectional.
“We actually got done sooner than I wanted too … Braedon Nichols just threw an inning there and we wanted him to pitch two or three innings,” he noted.
The Arrows (20-9) now face host Owen Valley at noon Monday in the second semifinal game. If they win, they would face either Edgewood or West Vigo in the championship game at 5 p.m.
“We got the second game which is the same as last year, which was pretty exhausting because you’re playing back-to-back,” Steimel said.
“But we feel good about our chances against Owen Valley. And if we can win that, we’re anxious to see who wins between West Vigo and Edgewood. We feel like they are really great teams, but we got an opportunity to (reach) our goal.”
Sulivan 004 27 — 13 12 1
Brown County 000 00 — 0 3 4
Cooks, Nichols (5) and Mize; Snider, Walker (5) and Weddle. 2B — Thrasher (S), Walters (S). W — Cooks. L — Snider.