Sebastian Arden might not want to return from Scott County baseball's spring break trip to Florida.
For the second straight April, Arden turned a spot start on the mound there into a gem. He threw a three-hit shutout Wednesday night in SC's 7-0 win over a fellow Kentucky foe, Russell, at Jackie Robinson Training Complex in Vero Beach, Florida.
Arden struck out 10 and walked only two, backing up his 3-1, complete-game masterpiece against Bullitt East on the same Dodgertown grounds a year ago.
This time, his tidy turn snapped a five-game losing skid for Scott County (6-7), which hadn't tasted victory in its first four tries this week.
Held to 10 total runs in those games, the Cardinals provided Arden with ample support by scoring three runs in the first inning and two more in both the second and fourth frames.
Jay Wilson anchored each of those rallies with a run-producing hit. The junior catcher had RBI singles in his first two plate appearances and backed them up with a two-run double.
Paul Garner, Luke Valencia and Tyler Robinson each knocked in a run for SC.
Justin Stevenson scored the first of his three runs when he singled ahead of Wilson's hit to open the game for the Cardinals.
Shawn Rowe's double set up Valencia's RBI single and Robinson's sacrifice fly for the quick 3-0 lead.
Stevenson, Garner and Wilson singled consecutively to plate a pair with two out in the third.
Arden's base hit and a Stevenson walk set up more two-out heroics from Wilson an inning later.
Those were the final hits of the night for the Cardinals, but Arden didn't need any additional cushion. He gave up only a two-out triple to Nathan Totten in the first and Trey Berry singles in the third and fifth.
Russell (4-5) went down on strikes in order against Arden in the second inning. Arden bounced back from back-to-back walks with consecutive whiffs to end the fourth.
Rowe, Valencia and AJ Wands turned an around-the-horn double play to close out the next stanza, and Arden retired the final six Red Devils to close out his masterpiece on 91 pitches.
Scott County sorely needed the note of celebration after a 12-5 loss to West Jessamine in the first half of the day-night doubleheader, as well as a 6-1 Monday defeat at the hands of Langley from McLean, Virginia, and Tuesday verdicts of 6-4 against McQuaid Jesuit of Rochester, New York and 2-0 versus Evanston Township of Illinois.
The Cardinals nursed a 1-0 led through four innings against Langley before the Saxons stormed back with three in both the fifth and sixth frames to take command.
Arden reached second on an error, advanced via Stevenson's sacrifice bunt and scored on a passed ball for SC's lone tally.
Garner's double and singles by Stevenson, Rowe and Valencia were the extent of the offense for the Cardinals, who struck out five times against the duo of Hank Lippman and Nick Newburn.
Camron Tallent was 2-for-4 with an RBI for Langley. Patrick Kelly doubled and knocked in a run.
Landon Whitson worked 4 2/3 innings, scattered five hits and struck out two. Garner also fanned a pair in 1 1/3 innings of no-hit relief.
Another lead slipped away against McQuaid Jesuit, with SC on top 4-2 until the bottom of the sixth. Two errors and two walks contributed to the damage. Connor Forkey's single provided the go-ahead run.
SC settled for four hits, including doubles by Robinson, Rowe and Wilson. Robinson's followed one by Wilson to tie it 1-1 in the top of the fourth.
Robinson and Rowe turned a double play that limited McQuaid to one run in the bottom of that inning, and consecutive errors in the fifth vaulted Scott County ahead. After another double play from Arden to Valencia to Whitson, Valencia's sixth-inning single padded the lead.
SC pitchers Asher Harrington, Robinson and Rowe combined to allow only one earned run. Seven walks compared to zero strikeouts plagued the Cardinals' staff, however.
Sophomore ace Jack Willhite took the hard-luck loss against Evanston. The left-hander allowed five hits, struck out five and walked two.
Eron Vega's two-run homer in the fourth held up thanks to a combined three-hitter by Hank Liss, Mason Denlow and Noah Cryns. They struck out a total of 10 and walked only one for the Wildkits. Wilson went 2-for-3 and Valencia 1-for-3 with a stolen base.
West Jessamine pounded out 16 hits in the Wednesday opener, rallying from a 3-0 deficit over the final four innings.
Wesley Longhofer, Andrew Wilkins and Ben Hershey each had three hits and teamed up for seven RBI to carry the Colts (5-7).
Hits again were sparse for SC, with Stevenson (2-for-2, triple, RBI) and Wilson (2-for-4, double, two RBI) providing all but one for the Cardinals.
Arden had a single, scored a run, drove one home and stole a base.
SC wrapped up the week with a Thursday contest against Bullitt East.