Pitching, patience lead Patriots to victoryMarch 29, 2019
By HENDRIX MAGLEY
DUBOIS — After the way his sophomore season ended last year, it’s safe to say that Simon Scherry was rather anxious to get back on the mound.
The junior Heritage Hills hurler was on the mound for the Patriots 3-2 loss in the sectional semifinal last season against Boonville where he gave up 10 hits and two earned runs.
He wanted to make a statement right away to open the season and he did just that — he gave up just one hit while striking out six batters in four innings of work for the Patriots in an 8-0 victory over Northeast Dubois in Dubois. The game was shortened to five innings due to heavy rain.
“I still had a little sour taste from last season’s sectional and all,” said Scherry. “All the work paid off from the offseason and it just felt really good to be back.”
Heritage Hills took advantage of several Northeast Dubois miscues, including 13 walks issued by Jeep pitchers, and took full control of the game with a four-run fifth inning.
Patriot head coach Andy Fischer knew there would be some nervous moments for the team’s first game of the year but overall he was very pleased with what he saw.
“You know you’re going to have some jitters and there were some moments where we left too many guys on the basepaths but the boys capitalized on their pitchers struggling a bit,” Fischer said.
Heritage Hills started the game with the bases loaded almost right away as Cole Neighbors and Murray Becher drew walks and Noah Chesnut was hit by a pitch. However, Northeast Dubois sophomore pitcher Logan Mehringer got out of the jam by forcing Patriot catcher Ben Gordon into a groundout.
The bottom of the second inning was dominated by Scherry — he sat down Mehringer, Conner Troutt and Bryce Merkel in order with strikeouts in the Jeeps’ second at-bats of the night.
“He did a real nice job — he established the fastball and got ahead of the hitters, that’s what you have to do,” Fischer said. “The first inning he threw about 20 or so pitches and then after that, it was just about nine or ten pitches every inning. He settled down and got into a groove.”
Scherry added: “Early I didn’t quite feel the same with the game atmosphere because it’s been awhile, but outside of that it felt pretty good.”
The walks started to become an issue for the Jeeps in the third inning as Mehringer and Aden Thewes walked three batters in the inning while Heritage Hills’ Grahm Turner got the Pats on the board with an RBI groundout which made it 1-0. Scherry would later score on a wild pitch to make it 2-0.
The Patriots expanded on their lead in the fourth inning when Turner drove in another run on an RBI groundout to make it 3-0 and then Gordon scored Becher on an RBI single to make it 4-0. It appeared Scherry made it across home plate as well but the home plate ump called him out to end the inning.
Heritage Hills added four more runs in the eight inning with a pair of them coming from players drawing bases-loaded walks. The other two runs were courtesy of an RBI single from Becher and a third RBI groundout from Turner. NE Dubois had a quick 1-2-3 bottom of the fifth and the game was called after that due to the rain.
There’s no denying that the walks played a major part in the game for both teams. Northeast Dubois head coach Luke Woolems hopes its an issue that will be resolved with younger pitchers getting more and more experience on the mound.
“I hope so — we’re going to have to find guys that can throw strikes,” Woolems said. “They had four hits tonight, it’s not like when we were throwing the ball in the zone we were getting pounded. Our guys can’t be afraid to get in there and it starts at practice.”
Murray Becher led Heritage Hills with two hits while Grahm Turner led the way with three RBI’s. Austin Knight had the lone hit for the Jeeps while Logan Mehringer took the loss on the mound as he gave up two hits, five walks and two earned runs in two innings of work.
The Jeeps will be back in action on Tuesday for their first ever meeting against Bedford North Lawrence — an opponent that Woolems said is just as tough as the Patriots.
“We’re finding some things out about ourselves,” Woolems said. “We have to find who can throw strikes and who can put the bat on the ball — how long will that take? I don’t know, but that’s where we’re at right now.”
The Patriots will battle South Knox on Monday as they look to start the season 2-0. While the majority of the game was filled with positives for Heritage Hills, Fischer knows there’s still room for improvement.
“We have to have a better approach at the plate, I thought we swung on a few pitches out of the zone,” Fischer said. “We also missed a few signs tonight and you can’t have that if you want to continue to compete at this high of a level.”
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