Raiders wait out Pack’s poky pitcher

Matthew Busch/The Herald
Southridge’s Jeremiah Mundy darted to third base after an overthrow to Crawford County second baseman Tim Knieriem on Friday at League Stadium. The Raiders subdued the Wolfpack 8-1 for their fifth straight victory at League Stadium. For a gallery of photos, click here.

By JOHN PATISHNOCK
Herald Sports Writer

HUNTINGBURG — The Southridge baseball extended its season-best winning streak to four games on Friday night at League Stadium.

O'Bryan

But the Raiders had to wait. And wait.

That’s because the pitcher they were facing was pretty much interested in doing anything other than actually pitching the ball.

Still, Southridge exited its home field with an 8-1 victory against Crawford County as Chad O’Bryan and Luke Stetter combined to strike out 15 Wolfpack batters.

“They both threw great, they threw outstanding,” Southridge coach Brad Wibbeler said. “Chad got squeezed a little bit but for the most part he was in the zone and he threw his off-speed stuff for strikes.

“Luke just came out on a tear, just throwing harder than I’ve ever seen him throw and spotting the ball wherever he wanted to spot it.”

O’Bryan (3-1) pitched in the sixth inning, striking out nine and allowing just three hits, two of which were infield singles. Both of those came in the sixth, but Stetter came in and struck out the side; the Wolfpack (3-9) scored their only run in that frame on a ball that scooted past the catcher on a swinging strikeout.

“Curveball was working pretty good tonight,” O’Bryan said. “Fastball was sort of accurate, not as good as I’d like it to be, but (my) curveball was probably my best pitch tonight.”

Both O’Bryan and Stetter, who struck out three more in the seventh inning, didn’t waste time on the mound. They gripped it and threw it. On working quickly, O’Bryan said, “It definitely keeps me relaxed, and it’s easier to work faster. It keeps you in a better rhythm.”

Then there was Crawford County’s Remi Griswold (0-1), a senior making his second career varsity appearance.

He stepped off the mound a few dozen times, faking pick-off throws to second base in bunches. Any time a Raider reached first base, he immediately became Griswold’s top priority, no matter the situation. Griswold sailed a pickoff throw to first base in the third inning, leading to Southridge’s first run after Nathan Tretter moved over to third; Tretter finished 2-for-4 with two runs.

Not surprisingly, Griswold’s wandering eye didn’t help his accuracy. He walked just one but hit three other batters and constantly fell behind in the count.

Southridge (8-5) took advantage, eventually. Wibbeler and his players said what’s been the theme of this winning stretch is the Raiders have been ready to play from the onset of the game. But Friday night, Wibbeler said, “We really didn’t come out to play until the sixth inning.”

He added: “For some reason tonight we came out flat. We’re happy to get the win, of course, but we weren’t happy with the way we played initially.”

Pinch-runner Jeremiah Mundy also scored in the second after a throwing error from the catcher allowed him to move up a base and Jacob Hildebranski scored in the fourth after reaching on an error. Ben Weber brought home Hildebranski with a sharp single up the middle that came after Griswold stepped off the rubber and stared down Hildebranski, ignoring Weber at the plate.

The Raiders then scored three runs in the sixth after Crawford County’s right fielder dropped a routine fly ball with two outs; Jacob Brewer (triple) and Brett Nordhoff (double) drove in runs after Tretter scored on the miscue. Aaron Heichelbech added a sacrifice fly in the fifth that scored Brewer, whose sixth-inning triple nearly rolled to the center field fence.

“It was literally letters-high and it was right there,” Brewer said of the 2-1 pitch. “It looked huge.”

As for Griswold’s slow manner, Brewer said, the Raiders adjusted.

“It just means that whenever he actually does throw the pitch, you have to be ready to hit,” he said. “You’ve got to be ready, you’ve got to just be able to put the bat on the ball.”

Wibbeler and O’Bryan weren’t dismissive of Griswold’s approach. He did what he had to, they essentially said. O’Bryan said each pitcher has to find his own style, though Wibbeler added he and his coaches stress the importance of working fast and throwing strikes to O’Bryan and the other pitchers. That quick-fire attitude has helped Southridge outscore its last four opponents 33-6, even if Friday night prompted the Raiders to find another way.

“To that pitcher’s credit, he did what was effective for him,” Wibbeler said. “It kept us off-balance, kind of kept us out of a rhythm and kept guys out of their rhythm as far as hitting, and it kept us from doing what we wanted to do on the bases.”

Contact John Patishnock at jpatishnock@dcherald.com.




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