Raiders get marathon walk off winJune 5, 2021
By COREY STOLZENBACH
HUNTINGBURG - Southridge will be back tonight to play for the Regional 8 Championship, thanks a walk off base knock by senior Camden Gasser in the bottom of the 11th.
Gasser got the win in relief for the Raiders (23-7) their regional opener against Silver Creek. He and his Raider teammates bent, but didn't break in front of a raucuous crowd at League Stadium. It had been tied, 1-1, since the bottom of the sixth, but Gasser helped Southridge finally break through when the lefty smacked a ball that dropped into right field, scoring fellow senior Sam Sermersheim from second base to give the Raiders a 2-1 win.
"It was tough, it was them on them, too," Gasser said. "It was a great, hard-fought game, back-and-forth pitcher's duel for both teams. And we just found a way there at the end, and couldn't be happier to play tonight."
The Raiders had to find a way, since they weren't getting much against Dragons senior Holden Groher, who didn't allow a run until the bottom of the sixth despite issuing five walks in the game. Prior to that point, all of Southridge's base runners came with two outs, and none of them came around to score.
"He's not going to Butler for no reason," Raiders pitcher Gene Mattingly said of Holden Groher. "He's a good pitcher. He can pitch backwards, he can pitch traditional, it's just one of those things. He can do what he needs to, and he kept us off balance and we didn't get timely hits."
Yet, the Raiders finally capitalized in the bottom of the sixth when seniors Chase Taylor and Ethan Bell got it going with back-to-back singles. The difference in the game prior to that point was when Taylor fired a strike down to third to try to gun down senior Landen Scherzinger in the top of the third. The throw was high, and because of that, the Raiders were eventually six outs from elimination.
However, on a team loaded with seniors, it was junior Carter Whitehead who made sure to extend this one when he drove in fellow junior Carson Niehaus to tie it, 1-1.
That was all the scoring until Gasser walked it off, but both teams had chances to get that second run after that point. He relieved Bell in the top of the ninth, and the Dragons had runners on first and second, nobody out, and runners on second and third, one out. However, Gasser and Co. held tight to prevent Silver Creek from scoring.
"I walked a few guys, they got a few hits, but I just wanted to make sure they didn't score, give our team a chance to win there, and that's what I did," Gasser said.
Mattingly said pitching coach Travis LaMar will make the call of who goes in the championship against either Batesville or Evansville Memorial, with input from Mattingly and from the rest of the staff. He let it be known the Raiders will throw a righty who will cram the strike zone.
Gasser admitted to being tired when he spoke to the Herald, but he feels the adrenaline will and the crowd will be there with the first pitch set for 8 p.m.
They may be in this game following his walkoff in the 11th, and while it was a great feeling, he wasn't overly happy about it.
"The job's not done yet," he said. "We didn't win a trophy that game. So, we still got one more to go, then I'll be a little bit happier."
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