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TAYLORSVILLE – Dillon Boone was dealing Tuesday night.
Boone, Shelby County’s junior left-hander, tossed a 2-hit, complete-game shutout of host Spencer County, 4-0, in a key 30th District baseball contest.
“Dillon did a great job; he’s done it all year,” Shelby County Coach Bart “Rudy” Roettger said.
Boone, who improved his season record to 7-0, gave up a pair of hits – a 2-out single in the fourth and a 1-out single in the seventh – while striking out five.
“I was trying to keep them off-balance,” he said.
Boone said he relied mainly on his fastball as he tried to paint the inside part of home plate.
“It was location, location, location,” said Roettger before quipping, “He’d be a good realtor.”
Finding the strike zone hasn’t always been easy for Boone, but he made it look that way against Spencer County (15-7, 1-2) by throwing 57 strikes in 79 pitches.
“I’ve never been that control pitcher, but this year I’ve found it. I’m just throwing strikes,” said Boone, who induced 11 groundouts and four flyouts.
And although Boone’s strikeout numbers haven’t been overpowering – he has 37 strikeouts in 44 innings so far this season – he has been effective (boasting a 1.27 earned-run average).
“I’ve got a good defense behind me, and as long as I throw strikes I know we can be in every ball game,” he said.
His D earned an “A” against the Bears, going error-free.
Boone’s offense, meanwhile, gave him an early lead.
Kipp Moore led off the game with a single, stole and scored on Kevin Veeley’s infield single.
“Kipp’s run in the first was huge,” Roettger said.
Moore gave the Rockets (21-7, 2-0) more offense in the third, when he led off with a solo home run to right field.
That, though, was the only extra-base hit for Shelby in Spencer’s hitter-friendly park.
“It wasn’t a great offensive win, but we did the little things, the things we didn’t do last week,” said Roettger, whose team had lost four of its previous six games. “We just wanted to hit the ball and stay away from trying to hit it out of the ballpark.”
The Rockets, who finished with seven hits, managed single runs in the fourth and seventh innings to add to their lead.
In the fourth, sophomore Kyler Dugle reached on a 2-out error, advanced to second on Kyle Durbin’s single to left field and scored when Steven Standafer reached on an error.
In the seventh Veeley, the second batter of the inning, reached on a fielder’s choice. He advanced to second when Zach Holmes reached on an error, moved to third on Boone’s sacrifice and scored on Dugle’s sacrifice fly.
Spencer, though, made Shelby sweat, at least a little bit.
In the bottom of the seventh, with one out, Andrew Contreras singled to center, and the next batter, Lance Shelton, hit a long, deep fly ball to center field.
“I was scared to death,” Boone said.
His fear quickly vanished, though, as senior center fielder Austin Rhodes made a diving catch just in front of the fence. Rhodes then fired the ball back in to force Contreras – who had rounded second when Rhodes made the grab – at first base for a game-ending double play.
“Manny does a great job getting to the ball,” Roettger said. “We’re lucky to have some outfielders who can go get the ball.”
Moore led the Rockets at the plate, going 2-for-3 with an RBI and two runs scored. Durbin added a pair of hits for Shelby County, which plays at Grant County at 6 tonight and at Western Hills at 6 p.m. Monday before Wednesday’s big showdown against crosstown-rival Collins.
SHELBY COUNTY 4, SPENCER COUNTY 0
Shelby County 101 100 1 – 4 7 0
Spencer County 000 000 0 – 0 2 4
Dillon Boone and Kevin Veeley. Lance Shelton, Nick Vuick and Brennan Noel. W – Boone (7-0). L – Vuick. HR – Kipp Moore (SCHS). Records – Shelby County 21-7, Spencer County 15-7.