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Bearcat dinger nips Rockets

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Anderson County’s 5-run sixth seals victory

By Todd Martin

The SCHS baseball team came out hot, but dropped like the cold temperatures Tuesday in a 9-5 loss at Anderson County.

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“It was a team effort and a team loss,” SCHS Coach Bart Roettger said. “Our hitters need to be more aggressive, and when we get an early lead, our pitchers need to keep the heat on them. We struck out 11 times. You can’t go long stretches without putting the ball in play.

"I still like our team, but now we just have to work extra hard to get the opportunity to play them [Anderson County] again.”

The Rockets (7-4) had a chance to regain the lead in the fifth, but Anderson (7-4) killed a potential rally with some quick plays.

After Shelby tied the score, 4-4, in the top of the fifth, when Tyler Tipton’s one-out triple scored Nick Hamblen, Anderson killed the inning with an unusual double play.

Jared Clarkson followed Tipton with a hot shot down the third-base line. Anderson's third baseman backhanded the ball, and Tipton took off for home. Tipton was tagged out in a run-down between home and third, and Clarkson, trying to be aggressive, was snagged as he tried to get to third. That double play ended the Rockets’ threat, leaving the score tied at 4.

“That was a big play,” Roettger said, “but I want my guys to be aggressive like that. I thought it was a good aggressive move to try and get Tipton home.

"When Jared recognized the rundown, he saw an opportunity to stretch it out and keep a runner in scoring position. It came back to bite us, but I love that aggressive attitude.”

The Bearcats then got the big hit when they needed it, taking advantage of a key mistake by the Rockets.

A two-out rally followed a walk to the No. 9 hitter in the Bearcats’ line-up, Matt Fugle and a balk that moved him to second.

“That’s huge. You can’t give-up a two-out walk to the number nine hitter,” Roettger said. “That’s something we just can’t do.”

Anderson’s Jordan Alves then took the next pitch deep for a two-run homer, breaking the tie and giving Anderson its final lead. The Bearcats tacked on three more runs in the inning.

Shelby took an early lead in the game, but too many mistakes gave Anderson opportunities.

In the top of the first Tipton, Clarkson and Eric Standafer loaded the bases with one out. John Hunter’s sacrifice fly to center scored Tipton, and Jacob Livers followed with a two-out double, giving Shelby a 3-0 lead.

However, that was practically the end of the highlights for the Rockets.

Anderson got a free pass for its first two batters, on a hit batter and a walk, and two RBI fielder’s choices cut the Rockets’ lead to one, 3-2.

A walk and an error led to two runs in the fourth, and the Bearcats took a 4-3 lead.

“The biggest thing is we can’t give a quality team like Anderson County freebies,” Roettger said. “We gave up a lot of free chances – six walks and two errors. We gave them chances to get free bases, and they made us pay for it.”

The loss put the Rockets at 1-1 in district play with their final seeding game coming next week against Spencer County. Anderson is 1-0 in district play, Eminence (0-5) is 0-1, and Spencer (4-5) has yet to play a district game.