Shawe defense keys 3-2 win over Switz.
Tuesday, April 30, 2013 11:00 AM
David Grote pitched seven strong innings and was backed by stellar defense to lead Shawe Memorial to a 3-2 win over Switzerland County in baseball action Monday at Post 9 Field.
DOUBLE TROUBLE: Shawe catcher Grayson Rhoten reaches to tag out a sliding Celby Kinney (above) during Monday’s matchup at Post 9 Field. Shawe shortstop Luke Higgins fires to first (below) as Switzerland County’s Kyle Konkle bears down on second base. Both plays capped off double plays, two of the four Shawe turned in the 3-2 win. (Staff photos by David Campbell)
The Hilltopper defense turned four double plays and made just one error in its best performance of the season. Coupled with Grote's pitching and one three-run inning, it was enough to power Shawe to the win.
"I'm very proud of our defense. Our defense helped win this game," Shawe coach Matt Forner said. "They stood behind David. We had four double plays and certainly that was helped by some poor baserunning, but we made the plays."
Shawe (7-8, 2-4 Ohio River Valley) ended the first, second, fifth and sixth innings with double plays, killer combinations that took their toll on Switzerland County.
Switzerland County touched Grote for two runs in the second as the senior right-hander was still trying to find his grove and easily could have had more if not for the twin-killings.
Grote hit Celby Kinney to open the game and one out later, walked Blaze Chase. That threat was ended when Hunter Jordan grounded to third base. Branden Callis threw for the out at first and first baseman Kyle Daugherty in turn fired a seed to catcher Grayson Rhoten to nail Kinney at the plate.
The Pacers (5-8, 3-4 ORVC) got singles by Kyle Konkle and Collin Burgess and RBIs from Bob Tressler and Ricky Roberts to plate two runs in the second but the big inning was thwarted when Nathan Hunter grounded into a double play.
Although Switzerland led 2-0, coach Chad Combs his team missed a golden opportunity for more.
"We should have had five or six runs in those first two innings. Grote's an ace and when you face a guy like that, you have to get to him early," Combs said. "We just had too many baserunning mistakes today. Baserunning killed us."
Grote allowed three hits, a walk and a hit batter in the first two innings and didn't appear long for the game. But the senior settled down after the second and found a groove.
Grote was aided by two other double plays - one which sparked controversy in the sixth when Callis appeared to miss the tag at third base - and also picked off a runner. He struck out only three but also scattered seven hits and threw only 69 pitches in the complete game win.
"David started off OK. He didn't have his best stuff starting out. But he worked through it and ended with his best stuff," Forner said. "He was pitching on the money, his knuckler was working, and he had full command of all his pitches."
Grote's effort may have gone for naught had Shawe not been able to scratch out three runs against Switzerland starter Burgess in the third inning, all with two outs.
Jesse Ball began the rally with a deep booming double to left center and Jordan Chandler kept the heat on with an impressive 15-pitch at-bat that ended with him drawing a walk.
Kyle Daugherty followed Chandler with a sharp single to center that scored Ball and Chandler came in a few pitches later on a wild pitch to tie the game 2-2. Luke Higgins then plated Daugherty with a single.
Shawe got only two more baserunners the rest of the way against Burgess but the third inning proved to be enough. Despite striking out five and walking two while scattering six hits, Burgess ended up with the loss.
"Collin deserves a much better record than we have given him this year," Combs said. "Collin pitched a very good game. We just don't give him any run support."
Chandler led Shawe by going 2-for-2 and reaching base all three times. Callis added a single.
Kinney was 2-for-2 to lead Switzerland County.
On Saturday, Shawe split a doubleheader at Oldenburg, losing the opener 11-6 but winning game two 7-2.
Four errors led to nine unearned runs in the first inning of game one and paved the way for Shawe's loss. Daugherty started and Chandler finished with five strong innings in relief.
Grote had two hits while Ball, Chandler, Daugherty, Higgins, Kyle Wisman and Grayson Rhoten added hits. Wisman also had an RBI.
Higgins pitched seven strong innings and struck out eight while walking one to get the win in game two.
Daugherty had a double and a single to lead Shawe while Ball, Chandler, Ryan Cox and Rhoten added hits.
Shawe hosts Jac-Cen-Del on Wednesday. Switzerland hosts South Ripley on Wednesday.