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Catching a break

Southwestern freshman catcher Chance Johnson warms up before a home game this season. The Spartans defeated Waldron 4-3 at Southwestern Friday.

By KRIS MILLS - kmills@shelbynews.com

After a 9-0 loss to Southwestern on Thursday, Waldron hung tough and gave itself a chance to win in the seventh inning Friday in another county contest against the Spartans. There is nothing else Mohawks head coach Doug Burcham could ask of his squad.

Southwestern, however, used 13 strikeouts from starting pitcher Branden Stubbefield and timely hitting to secure a 4-0 Mid-Hoosier Conference start with a 4-3 win over Waldron on a beautiful evening for baseball. The Spartans baseball and softball teams are both 4-0 in conference play for the first time in school history.

The Mohawks (2-3, 0-3 MHC) struck first Friday, however, as a Cole Adams RBI single up the middle gave Waldron a 1-0 lead after the third inning. Adams, a senior, led all hitters in the game with three base knocks, including a clutch double in his last at-bat in the seventh inning.

Adams, who was leading off to begin the season, moved to the No. 2 hole in the second game against Southwestern. Senior Cameron Wells hit first. 

“It just depends on the day I guess,” Adams said. “When I am hitting the ball, I am hitting the ball.”

Freshman Anick Hartsell, who led the Spartans (4-2, 4-0 MHC) with two hits, helped his team get going in the next frame as Southwestern plated three to take a 3-1 lead. An Austin Blocher single scored two runs for the Spartans.

Wells hit an RBI double in the fifth inning and Adams brought him home with his second single of the game, which tied the game at 3-all.

Hartsell, who is one of the best athletes in the school, according to his coach, ripped a triple to right-center field in the bottom of the inning, breaking the tie with the go-ahead run. He scored senior Erick Emerick, who singled earlier in the inning. 

“I thought Eli Jones (Waldron junior starter) came out and threw strikes and kept us off balance a little there,” Southwestern head coach Chris Ingels said after the game. “We left some runners, but he did a good job.

“Anick (Hartsell) is one of the best at anything he does and he came through with that go-ahead run there. Same for (sophomore) Austin Blocher, that was a huge hit.”

Waldron head coach Doug Burcham said was proud of his team’s energy after a lopsided loss one game before.

“Our team never quit, we got the bottom of the order going and the top came through tonight,” Burcham said. “Switching Cam and Cole (in the batting order) worked. Both can bunt and both can run. In the first game, I thought Cam was on fire and has been.”

Southwestern and Waldron both registered six hits and an error apiece in contest. The Spartans took advantage of a baserunning error in the final frame. A double play helped the team earn its second consecutive win after a 12-9 loss to Oldenburg. 

Stubblefield was rolling early and had eight strikeouts through the first three innings of play. He kept his composure late and did not want to come out. He finished the sixth and seventh innings with three strikeouts.

“Branden threw strikes today, he did great and got ahead in the count a lot,” Ingels said. “That is what we expect from him. He wanted the ball, and we let him stay in there. It was good to see him finish it out.”

Senior Cameron Carroll also had two hits for the Spartans -- both being singles. Junior Bryce Flippen paced the Mohawks with two singles, as well.

Both teams play again Monday. Waldron looks to return to the win column at home against Shelbyville, while Southwestern travels to Greenwood Christian.

“We just need to get better at the little things,” Burcham said. “We just need a little more baseball, but they are catching on and buying in.”

Kris Mills is the Sports editor of The Shelbyville News. Follow Kris on Twitter @KrisMills37.