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CRESTWOOD – David Decker delivered.
Decker, a senior for Collins High School, hit a bases-clearing double in the top of the seventh inning to propel the Titans to a 5-2 victory over Simon Kenton on Tuesday evening in the 8th Region baseball tournament semifinals at South Oldham.
Collins will play the winner of Tuesday night’s second semifinal, Spencer County, at 6 p.m. Thursday evening in the region championship game.
The Titans trailed, 2-1, entering the seventh before quickly loading the bases against Pioneers starter Vic Newberry. That brought up Decker, an emotional leader for Collins who moved into the starting lineup this season.
Decker fouled off the first pitch before lacing the second into left field, scoring a trio of Titans.
“David’s the guy you want in a situation like that, you can count on him to pull you through,” said senior Austin Perry, who pitched the first four innings for Collins and also went 3-for-3 at the plate.
Decker later scored on Nate Clifton’s double to give junior pitcher Zac Wiley a 3-run cushion heading into the bottom of the seventh.
Wiley, who took over for Perry in the bottom of the fifth, allowed a leadoff single to Newberry but retired the next three batters in a row to end the game.
It was the third time in four postseason games that the Titans (31-6) have
won a game in their final at-bat. “We just know how to win,” Decker said.
For the first five innings it looked like a victory was going to be difficult to come by for Collins.
Simon Kenton (22-15) led 2-0 after plating a pair of runs in the bottom of the third. The Titans trimmed that lead to 2-1 in the sixth when Logan Bailey led off with a single, moved to second on a fielder’s choice, then scored on Buddy Johnson’s double.
In the seventh Mason Jeffries reached on an error before Perry and Paul Miller singled to load the bases for Decker. That’s when Decker, who is hitting .338 this season, delivered a double.
“A big-time hit in a clutch situation,” Collins Coach Roy Bailey said. “That’s what we’ve been preaching all year.”
The Titans tallied 10 hits, led by Perry and Johnson, who had two. “We hit the ball early in the game, but it was right at them,” Bailey said. “But as long as you score more than the other team that’s all that matters.”
COLLINS 5, SIMON KENTON 2
Collins 000 001 4 – 5 10 2
Simon Kenton 002 000 0 – 2 4 1
Austin Perry, Zac Wiley (5) and Wiley, Will McDonald (5). Vic Newberry and
Michael Mundy. W – Wiley. L – Newberry. 2B – Perry (CHS), Buddy Johnson
(CHS), David Decker (CHS), Nate Clifton (CHS). Records – Collins 31-6,
Simon Kenton 22-15.