NICE CATCH: Southwestern’s Adam Jackson (above, on ground) recovers to catch a short fly ball as teammate Jayde Ary (5) backs up the play during Thursday’s game at Madison. Madison’s Ethan Leach (below, 6) talks with coach Shannon Barger while on third base during a Southwestern meeting on the mound. The Cubs trailed early but rolled to the 18-3 win. (Staff photos by David Campbell)
NICE CATCH: Southwestern’s Adam Jackson (above, on ground) recovers to catch a short fly ball as teammate Jayde Ary (5) backs up the play during Thursday’s game at Madison. Madison’s Ethan Leach (below, 6) talks with coach Shannon Barger while on third base during a Southwestern meeting on the mound. The Cubs trailed early but rolled to the 18-3 win. (Staff photos by David Campbell)
Southwestern got off to the quick start but it was Madison that finished stronger as the Cubs defeated the Rebels 18-3 in a Jefferson County baseball showdown at Gary O'Neal Field on Thursday.

With weather postponing several early season games for both teams over the last two weeks, the two squads struggled at times throughout the game but were able to string up some positives as the evening went along.

Southwestern, playing its first game of the season, struck first in the contest as Madison starter Sam McIlvain struggled with control in his only complete inning of work, walking both Gage Hartman and Logan Sprong to begin the game.

After an Adam Jackson strikeout, McIlvain issued another walk to Tristan Embs to load the bases with one out and Matt Schwartz followed that with an RBI single to score Hartman and Tryston Wheatley delivered a sacrifice fly that brought home Sprong for a 2-0 Southwestern lead.

"Offensively, I liked our approach up until the last inning," Southwestern head coach Derik Hutton said. "Our game plan was to make Madison throw strikes and after seeing their first game we knew their pitchers struggled to find the strike zone. We wanted to take advantage of that and I thought early on we did a really good job with that."

Madison quickly responded in the bottom of the first. Xavier Barnes led off with a double and walks to Clark Vaughn and Ethan Leach soon loaded the bases for the Cubs with just one out.

A wild pitch on the next at-bat scored Barnes and John McCarty drilled a double to the outfield to score Vaughn and Leach as Madison took its first lead at 3-2.

Southwestern's only other score came in the top of the second when the Rebels answered to make it a 3-3 game. McIlvain, who was later replaced in the inning by Carson Compton, hit two straight batters and loaded the bases after a Sprong single. The following at-bat resulted in a Jackson walk that forced home Michael Baker-Conover.

The rest of the game belonged to the Cubs. Madison's defense didn't allow a hit over the final three innings and the offense came alive, totaling 15 runs on nine hits.

Being much more aggressive in the bottom of the second, Madison turned to the bunt and used the "small ball" method along with three Southwestern errors to regain the lead 7-3 before putting across six in the third and five more in the fourth.

Southwestern put one runner on in the top of the fifth but went down in order the next three batters to end the game on the 10-run rule.

"It was a little rough early but we started swinging the bats," Madison head coach Shannon Barger said. "We had a couple nice bunts in the second inning that we were able to take advantage of and our guys in the middle of the order drove those guys in. Madison has always been known to bunt and run and we have to do that. We're not a team that's going to hit many home runs."

Madison totaled 11 hits in the game with Tanner Sauley and Alex Risk smacking two each. Sauley also had a team-high three RBIs while McCarty and Vaughn drove in two runs each.

Schwartz and Sprong accounted for the two Southwestern hits with Schwartz, Wheatley and Jackson contributing an RBI each.

Compton pitched three and two-thirds of an inning in relief and picked up the win. In his first varsity outing, the Cub hurler threw no-hit baseball while walking just one and striking out three.

"Carson threw strikes," Barger said. "He came in and did a really nice job and proved that he could throw at the varsity level."

Embs was tagged with the loss for Southwestern. The Rebel starter threw two complete innings and faced two batters in the third, giving up nine runs - five earned - while walking five while striking out two.

"Anytime you leave your defense out there for 30- to 45-minute half innings it's never going to end with a positive result," Hutton said. "We just have to keep our energy up. The first couple weeks are going to be interesting for us because we're starting five freshmen but we're going to improve."

Southwestern (0-1) hosts Silver Creek today. Madison (2-0) hosts Hoosier Hills Conference opponents Columbus East and Floyd Central on Saturday in a doubleheader.

Carroll wins All 'A' regional opener 8-4 over Owen Co.

Carroll County baseball's fourth inning surge sent the Panthers to an 8-4 win over Owen County on Thursday in the opening round of the All "A" Classic in Carrollton.

The Panthers scored a run in the bottom half of the first inning and added another in the third for an early 2-0 lead before Owen pushed across one in the top of the fourth to cut the deficit in half.

Carroll's fourth inning, however, provided the spark the Panthers needed to pull away. Carroll crossed home plate four times in the frame and built a 6-1 lead.

The Rebels scored three of their own in the top of the fifth and trailed 6-4 but Carroll responded with its final two runs to stave off the comeback. The two teams played scoreless baseball the final two innings as the Panthers walked away with the 8-4 victory.

Carroll busted out 15 hits in the game. Jacob Wise and Zakk Hicks were each a perfect 3-for-3 at the plate with two runs scored and Wise added an RBI.

Justin Ray, Austin Dunn and Keifer McIntyre had two hits each while John Michael Adams, Seth Hicks and Taylor Hill had one each. Dunn had a team-high three RBIs.

Zakk Hicks was the winning pitcher, going four and two-thirds of an inning. Hicks gave up four runs - only one earned - on five hits while walking two and striking out seven.

Adams pitched two and one-third innings of perfect baseball in a relief appearance and struck out four.

Carroll County (6-5) plays Williamstown in the All "A" semifinals at 12:30 p.m. on Saturday at at Walton-Verona. Williamstown defeated Eminence 17-5 in the tournament's other opening round game.

S.O. too much for Trimble in back-to-back beatings

Trimble County got baserunners and scored runs but still couldn't beat South Oldham, falling 16-2 in five innings Thursday in baseball.

The Raiders were on the wrong end of a perfect game to South just the day before. Thursday's game was the classic case of good news-bad news for Trimble.

"We played better and worse, if that's possible," Trimble coach Frank Ragland said. "We got baserunners and scored some runs and did some things better than yesterday. Just a bad couple of innings hurt us."

South Oldham scored three runs in the top of the first inning but Trimble answered with two in the bottom half when Brian Haney singled and Connor Beard blasted his first home run of the season.

The Raiders then loaded the bases with one out in the second inning but failed to score and Trimble never threatened again.

South pushed across three runs in the fourth inning then scored 10 in the fifth to end the game on the mercy rule.

"We held them for a while but it started to get away from us in the fourth," Ragland said. "They scored three runs but should have had more. We had four errors in the inning."

Hunter Duncan started and took the loss for Trimble, allowing nine runs - seven earned - on six hits with six walks and three strikeouts.

Trimble (3-6, 0-2 29th District) plays Walton-Verona in the All "A" Classic Eighth Region Tournament semifinals on Saturday at Walton-Verona. That game will be at 10 a.m. with the Carroll County-Williamstown contest at 12:30 p.m. The championship will be at approximately 3 p.m.