Raiders claim third straight regional titleJune 6, 2021
By COREY STOLZENBACH
Southridge's seniors have had to deal with two heartbreaking state championship losses, COVID-19 shutting them out their junior years and ascending from Class 2A to Class 3A.
But on Saturday night, they stood tall as champions once again.
The Raiders (24-7) busted out the bats the tune of a 7-2 win in the Regional 8 title game against Evansville Memorial at League Stadium. They had to endure 11 innings in the heat earlier in the day against Silver Creek in the semifinals with a come-from-behind 2-1 walk off just to get to this point. There wouldn't be nearly as much trouble in the evening game.
"We all took naps, I know that," said Chase Taylor, who, along with fellow senior Ethan Bell, launched a two-run homer. "It was pretty quiet in the clubhouse."
"We hit the ball really hard," Raiders coach Gene Mattingly said. "We put together some really good at-bats. Chase and Ethan got a hold of some balls that went a mile at this park in this kind of heavy, humid air and they got us off to a good start."
Bell's home run came in the top of the first, when he got a hold of one off freshman Memorial pitcher Thomas Lynch to bring in senior teammate Colson Montgomery and give the Raiders a 2-0 lead.
"Scoring those first two runs, it really jumpstarts the whole atmosphere for the crowd, for us as a team," Bell said. "And it just sets the way for more runs."
That home run gave sophomore starter Mick Uebelhor some run support, but the Tigers responded to tie it in the bottom of the first. The Raiders went out and got a couple of more runs from Taylor's two-run double in the top of the second inning. The Tigers loaded the bases on Uebelhor in the bottom of the second, but he got out of it to preserve the 4-2 lead.
Southridge added three more runs for good measure in the top of the fourth to bring the game to its final score. Taylor had the grand finale when he belted a two-run blast off of Memorial freshman hurler Clark Gries.
"I was thinking, 'I'm going to load up, and if he throws anything middle in, it's going over the 350/365 sign,' and that's pretty much what happened," Taylor said.
Senior Camden Gasser delivered the walk off RBI earlier on Saturday to lift the Raiders over Silver Creek, but he was also crucial in relief. He delivered a combined 120 pitches against the Dragons and Tigers, and didn't allow a run. Southridge lifted him with one out in the bottom of the seventh, and Taylor got the final two outs to seal the deal.
The Raiders will have a week to get ready, as they are scheduled on June 12 to take on Brebeuf Jesuit at Ruxer Field.
"We're just grateful, we're thankful, that we get to play another seven innings, and hopefully, it doesn't turn into 11 unless we have to," Mattingly said.
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