Huge third inning leads Raiders past Wildcats

Photos by Traci Westcott/The Herald
Southridge's Tucker Schank signals towards the dugout after hitting a double during Friday's baseball game at Ruxer field in Jasper. Schank's double kicked off a huge third inning as the Raiders scored six of their seven runs to take control and defeat the Wildcats by a score of 7-2. For more photos from the game, click here.


JASPER — In the game of baseball, sometimes one inning can make all the difference.

While it wasn’t the only determining factor in the final score of Friday’s tilt between county rivals Southridge and Jasper, there’s no denying that the third inning played a major role in the Raiders 7-2 defeat of the Wildcats.

Southridge scored six runs on five hits while also taking advantage of a few Jasper errors in the top of the third inning to take full control of the ballgame.

“We strung a couple of hits together and when you can do that early in the inning, everybody gets fired up and it’s almost like an offensive explosion,” said Southridge senior center fielder Tucker Schank. “They key was getting it started early, once we put pressure on them we just kept going.”

Southridge head coach Gene Mattingly added: “We were seeing the ball really well out of (Jasper starting pitcher Trevor Krapf)’s hands and our guys had a lot of confidence. We were able to put pressure on them and come up with timely hits, it was good to see — we needed that.”

The Raiders (13-4) found themselves down 2-1 entering the third inning. Southridge struck first in the game as Schank scored on a wild pitch after being hit by a pitch to score the game. However, Jasper (18-4) answered right back in the top of the second as Raider starting pitcher Chase Taylor walked in a run and a second run would later score via a wild pitch.

In the third inning, Schank kicked things off with a double. The next batter, sophomore third baseman Camden Gasser, drove in Schank with an RBI single to make it 2-2.

After that is where things got a bit interesting. Taylor gave the Raiders the lead on an RBI single but then, it appeared Ethan Bell was going to ground into a double play. Instead, Jasper shortstop Josh Weidenbenner tried to throw out at sophomore shortstop Colson Montgomery at home but the Raider made it safely to make it 4-2.

By this point, the momentum was fully in Southridge’s favor. Junior Conner Oxley hit a big two-RBI double to make it 6-2 and freshman second baseman Carter Whitehead gave the Raiders a 7-2 advantage by the end of the inning with an RBI groundout.

While the Raiders had a few big hits in the inning, Jasper head coach Terry Gobert was upset with some of the decision-making his team made — both in that inning and in the game as a whole.

“We knew coming in that we couldn’t give them anything because they have guys that athletic, good baseball players that can run,” Gobert said. “We made poor decisions all night and here’s the newsflash — we’ve been doing it a lot, tonight we just got smacked doing it. It’s disappointing but we got what we deserved.”

After the third inning, neither team cracked the scoring column again. In fact, there were only four more base hits the rest of the way by either team.

While Taylor struggled on the mound to start the game for Southridge, Ethan Bell did an impressive job in relief for the Raiders. He pitched six innings of scoreless ball while striking out four and allowing just three base hits.

“I always just feel so confident on the mound with those guys behind me,” said Bell. “That third inning also made it so much easier.”

Jasper head coach Terry Gobert talks to the team on the mound during Friday's game. The Cats made several errors throughout the night and struggled to ever fully find their groove in the loss to county rival Southridge. For more photos from the game, click here.

Schank, Gasser, Taylor and Whitehead all had multiple hits for the Raiders while Oxley drove in a team-best two runs.

Grant Ahlbrand, Andrew Wallace and Weidenbenner all had base hits for the Cats.

There’s no denying that a win against Jasper brings a lot of confidence to the Southridge baseball team as the Raiders have now defeated the Cats in back-to-back seasons.

You often hear teams mention “signature wins” — there’s no denying that a victory over the No. 7 ranked team in Class 4A and one of the most tradition-rich programs in Indiana is a win that goes a long way.

“This program, in my opinion, is the best program in the state,” Mattingly said about the Wildcats. “When we’re able to come in here and compete at the same level and, in my opinion, outplay them — that’s a pretty good measuring stick for our program and for our guys.”

Schank added: “It’s got to boost our confidence because (Jasper) is a very prolific program, I mean every stinking year they’re a really good team. You see how many times they’ve been to Indianapolis (for the state finals) and we’re trying to build something like that for ourselves.”

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