Stratton shuts out Mater DeiApril 27, 2021
By COREY STOLZENBACH
JASPER - Grant Stratton felt good about himself going into Tuesday's Southern Indiana Athletic Conference matchup against Evansville Mater Dei, and he felt good afterward, too.
The senior righty tossed the complete game shutout for Jasper (10-2, 5-0) in this All-Wildcats matchup at Ruxer Field. Stratton struck out five batters and walked one. Whenever Mater Dei got on base, he found his way out of it, as he thought he could do something like this heading into the game.
"My arm just felt good entering today," Stratton said. "I've had some back problems and some shoulder problems, but today, they weren't here. So, I just felt like I was pretty good."
"More than anything, I think it was just he had control of his breaking ball," Jasper coach Terry Gobert said. "And then when he had them looking for that, he spotted his fastball. So, I thought him and (senior catcher) Ross (Peter) did a nice job back there."
Jasper got the shutout against a conference opponent, but a game that could've been out of reach was very much in reach towards the end of the game. Jasper scored all three of its runs in the bottom of the third, and Mater Dei sent the tying run to the plate by putting two men on with one out in the top of the fifth, and two men on with two outs in the top of the seventh.
However, Jasper managed to turn an inning-ending double play to end the fifth and Stratton induced a groundout to end the game.
"I just sort of took a breath after that hit by pitch (to Mater Dei junior Kaden Waugerman with two outs in the top of the seventh), and sort of thought, 'You know, we got two outs, we have the lead, I trust my defense behind me, I just need to pitch to get the out,'" Stratton said.
Those wouldn't have been pressure situations had Jasper cashed in on its opportunities to break the game wide open. Jasper loaded the bases, all with two outs, in the bottom of the fourth inning, but left the bags loaded.
Senior Andrew Wallace and junior Chris Hedinger both reached to lead off the bottom of the fifth, and Peter's sacrifice bunt moved them over, but once again, in spite of loading the bases, Jasper stayed put at 3-0.
"I can handle leaving 10 guys out if we're lining out, hitting the hard balls, but we don't have an approach the way we want," Gobert said. "Walk a guy in front of you on four-five pitches and we swing at the first pitch up - that's just got to come to an end if we want to be good. The better the pitching we see, the more you have to take advantage of those situations."
Jasper broke through in the bottom of the third inning when it sent its first two batters to the plate, which it capitalized on when junior Ben Henke scored on a wild pitch for the team's first run of the game. The Wildcats strung together some at-bats for insurance when junior Connor Foley's double brought in senior Will Troxler, and senior Jobe Luebbehusen's single to the left side brought Foley in on an RBI single to bring the game to its eventual final score.
Ahead are a couple of back-to-back days on the road for Jasper. It's going to be back at it today at Jeffersonville, followed by a Thursday game at Evansville Central.
"We got a tough stretch coming up, and that'll tell us what we need to work on even more," Gobert said.
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