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Pacers drop opener 4-3 to Panthers
, Courier Staff Writer
Wednesday, April 09, 2014 11:00 AM
PACERS OPENER: Switzerland County shortstop Zack Whitaker (above) dives to snag a pop-fly off the bat of Carroll County’s Austin Dunn (foreground) in the fourth inning of Tuesday’s game in Vevay. Carroll players (below, from left) third baseman Zack Hicks, pitcher Keifer McIntyre, shortstop John Michael Adams and second baseman Austin Crowell kept the mood light. Carroll won 4-3 in the Pacers’ season opener. (Staff photos by David Hill)
Carroll County came from behind in the third inning and, thanks to strong starting pitching and huge relief pitching, held on for a 4-3 win over Switzerland County in the Pacers' season opener Tuesday night in Vevay.
With the win, Carroll County broke a five-game losing streak after opening the season with four-straight wins.
After falling behind 2-0 in the first, the Panthers tied the game in the second and took the lead for good with another pair of runs in the third. Starting pitcher Keifer McIntyre pitched well for five-plus innings and left-handed reliever Justin Ray came in and struck out four over the last two innings for a well-earned save.
"I thought we played a very good game," Carroll County coach Jimmy Ray said. "We had good pitching and good defense and Justin came in and did very well in the clutch,"
Ray was impressed with his team's defense.
"We had been bobbling the ball and having a hard time over the past few games, but we came out tonight and played error-free and that's exactly what we needed to boost our confidence," the coach said.
The Pacers were first to get on the board with a pair in the bottom of the first. Leadoff hitter Nate Hunter walked and scored on a close play and Hunter Jordan also walked and scored on a wild pitch.
Carroll County knotted the score in the second inning, McIntyre and Seth Hicks reached on back-to-back walks before Taylor Hill smacked a base hit to draw things even.
What may have been the turning point of the game came in the bottom of the second. The Pacers' Brett Chase tried to score from second on a single to right field by Jimmy Meyer. The throw from Hicks easily nailed Chase at the plate as McIntyre worked himself out of the inning.
"It's tough when you lose you're opener by one run," said Switzerland County coach Chad Combs. "But, if there's anything I could take back it would be that play. I had a horrible read on the play and (Brett) slipped as he was rounding third. Who knows if I didn't send him home."
Carroll County took a 4-2 lead in the third inning. Ray opened the rally with a one-out walk. After two were out, McIntyre was hit by a pitch, setting the stage for a two-run double by Hicks.
Both pitchers settled down for the next two innings but the Pacers threatened big time in the sixth. After an inning-opening single by Kyle Konkle, courtesy runner Ryan Brubaker found his way to third on a walk and a force-out. He then brought Switzerland County a run closer when a balk was called on McIntyre.
Ray, who was playing second base, was summoned to pitch to Meyer with a 3-1 count inherited from McIntyre and sophomore threw nothing but bull's-eyes to the plate to fan Meyer and Hunter around a two-out walk.
Tanner Jones opened the Swiss seventh inning by drawing a walk from Ray but was doubled off first an out later when Jordan hit a liner to right field and Jones couldn't make it back to first in time. The game ended when Ray struck out Bob Tressler looking.
According to Combs, the Pacers played well for an opening game.
"I was worried about our defense but I thought we handled plays," Combs said. "(Carroll County) already had like 10 games but I thought we matched well with them tonight.
"I thought Kyle Konkle had a great outing out of the bullpen tonight," the coach added. "He was very efficient, throwing first-pitch strikes. I also thought Tanner (Jones) had a good start."
While Carroll County now prepares for Owen County in the All "A" Classic on Thursday in Carrollton, Switzerland County will host South Dearborn today and travel to Jac-Cen-Del on Friday.
PHOTOS: Pacers drop opener 4-3 to Panthers
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