Last season’s fate and pure preference conspired to ensure that baseball wasn’t the primary sport for three seniors at the top of Scott County’s lineup.
With the world turning a corner, and football and basketball out of the picture, Zane Patton, Chase Grigsby and Campton Martin are locked in and leading SC back to its customary comfort zone in the win column.
Tuesday’s 8-3 triumph over Shelby County at Sutton Field gave SC its fifth win in seven games.
Patton broke a scoreless deadlock in the bottom of the third inning with a two-run blast for the Cardinals (7-8), his second home run of the spring. Martin was 2-for-2 with a triple and a pair of RBI, upping his team-leading average to .372.
Grigsby went 2-for-3, including a double, and scored three runs. He also spun a scoreless seventh inning as a closer to back up winning pitcher Joseph Garrison.
“A whole lot of us really never got a whole lot of varsity time,” Grigsby said. “We’re really just starting to click and bond together as a team, trusting each other.”
Having both right-handed head coach Scott Willard and left-handed pitching coach Sam Sutton to throw batting practice was splendid preparation for Shelby County (3-9), which tried to attack SC from both sides.
“The start of the season, we kind of struggled on that side of the ball,” Martin said. “We stayed in the cages out here, hitting. You name it, we were working on it. I think ultimately it got us where we are now with the hits.”
Jaxon Saylor reached on an error to launch the five-run third ahead of Patton’s home run.
Grigsby doubled and Martin walked to set up Luke Colvin’s RBI double. Martin scored on a wild pitch.
“Zane’s really hitting it. It just took Chase a while.” Willard said. “Chase played sophomore year, and then he didn’t play any summer baseball. So it’s been two years since he’s played any baseball, but he’s done a lot of good things for us.”
Paul Garner made it 5-0 with an RBI single before the Rockets escaped the inning by throwing out a would-be base thief and coaxing a groundball. Saylor again reached on an error to set the table for singles by Grigsby and Martin in the fifth.
Colvin’s sacrifice fly increased the lead to 7-0.
“Everything’s more laid back (with a lead). It feels like you’re in the clear,” Martin said.
Garrison retired seven consecutive Rockets before the visitors notched three runs in the top of the sixth. Blake Cook’s two-run homer inflicted the most damage.
It was the team-best third win for the steady junior Garrison, who struck out six.
“Joseph’s one of those pitchers, if you’re the other team watching him warm up for the first inning, you go, ‘Hey, we ought to score some runs today.’ But he can throw his breaking ball for strikes. He can throw changeups for strikes,” Willard said. “He just gets out there and competes and battles, and we played real good defense behind him today.”
Grigsby walked and Martin tripled to close out the scoring with two out in the SC sixth.
“Our bats give me enough confidence. If we’re up five or seven (runs) and I go in to close the game, I feel really comfortable,” Grigsby said. “I’m comfortable with my defense behind me. I don’t have a worry in the world.”
SC dropped an 11-2 decision at highly touted 11th Region rival Madison Central on Wednesday.
Colvin’s double and a sacrifice fly drove home first-inning runs, but it was all Indians thereafter.
Kal Oakes can be reached via email at email@example.com.