Jasper moves on to semifinals

Photo by Corey Stolzenbach/The Herald
Senior teammates Andrew Wallace (18) and Grant Stratton (13) embrace after the latter’s complete-game win against Castle on Thursday in Sectional 16 play at Bosse Field. The Wildcats are scheduled to await either Evansville Harrison or Evansville North in Monday’s semifinals.

By COREY STOLZENBACH
sports@dcherald.com

EVANSVILLE — Jasper is moving on in the Sectional 16 tournament.

The Wildcats (25-2) took down Castle, 6-1, in the Evansville Reitz sectional Thursday at Bosse Field, finding different ways to plate runs against sophomore pitcher Cameron Tilly and the Knights.

Junior Connor Foley got it all started with a two-out solo blast in the top of the first that put enthusiasm into the Wildcat fans, and the players rushed out of the dugout to greet him after he touched them all.

“I think it gave us a lot of momentum going into the second inning and the rest of the game, honestly,” Foley said about his homer.

Castle found the equalizer, however, in the bottom of the second when junior Kris Butler found contact for a slow roller up the middle that scored junior Connor Young to tie it, 1-1. However, the Wildcats made sure to respond when they got two in the top of the third and had the lead for good.

“I just thought it was huge getting numbers,” Jasper coach Terry Gobert said. “Our goal was to try to scratch out one every inning.”’

One run per inning didn’t exactly happen, but Jasper found at least one run in every odd-numbered inning Thursday, and plated two each in both the top of the third and top of the fifth.

They found one more in the top of the seventh when senior Blake Mann scored following an error from Butler at first base.

Meanwhile, senior Grant Stratton had more than enough run support out on the mound, as he limited the Knights to that lone run in the bottom of the second inning. Stratton got the complete game win for the Wildcats — striking out five and walking none.

The senior right hander allowed back-to-back one out singles in the bottom of the seventh, but he regrouped, first by striking out junior Jacob Barrett, then Butler to end it.

“I just took a deep breath and I looked at (senior catcher) Ross (Peter),” Stratton said. “Ross has always helped me back there, and he gave me a few pitches that I knew I could throw, and I threw them and we got them out.”

“I thought he did a nice job — went back to mixing it up,” Gobert said. “It was good for him to finish.”

Jasper awaited the winner of Thursday’s game between Evansville Harrison and Evansville North. The game between the Warriors and Huskies was moved back to Saturday following Thursday’s weather, and Jasper’s game had been moved to Monday. Jasper would play in the championship Monday night if it won the semifinals game earlier in the day. The Wildcats came away with a 9-1 win on April 15 against the Warriors, and edged the Huskies, 6-4, on May 12 on their way to a perfect 8-0 record in Southern Indiana Athletic Conference play.

They’ve already won one rematch, as they previously bested the Knights, 5-2, on May 4.

“I was proud of our kids today,” Gobert said. “I thought they were really locked in — that was a tough assignment.”




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