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It wasn’t quite a “must win” for the Shelbyville American Legion Post 37 baseball team Tuesday night, but it was a much-needed victory.
Post 37’s 4-2 triumph over district rival Morehead at Clear Creek Park ended a 4-game losing streak for Shelbyville.
“We needed to win one after we dropped four in a row [at Paducah’s Polks Brooks Tournament last week],” Post 37 Manager Jim Wiley said. “But it wasn’t easy.”
After falling behind, 2-0, early Shelbyville scored four runs, including three in the fourth inning. That, combined with the fact that Post 37 also received some solid pitching in the form of a strong start by Dan Sanders and a sturdy relief effort from Eddie Mathis, helped Shelbyville get off the schnide.
“Our pitching was good,” Wiley said of the duo who combined to limit Morehead to four hits and strike out nine of Post 126’s hitters.
Sanders, the recent Collins graduate who has committed to Spalding University, gave up two unearned runs on three hits while walking three and striking out seven in seven innings.
Sanders, though, dug himself an early hole as Morehead scored single runs in the first and second innings.
“I walked a couple of people, they had a couple hits and I was throwing up [in the strike zone],” he said.
A pair of errors in each inning also contributed to Post 37’s early deficit.
“We had a couple of mistakes early,” said Wiley, whose team finished with four errors.
Shelbyville, however, did have some timely hits, especially in the fourth frame. Of Post 37’s eight hits, three were doubles, and all three of those came in the fourth.
Nate Clifton led off the bottom of the inning with a double. After Zac Wiley was hit by a 1-out pitch, Buddy Johnson doubled home both Clifton and Wiley to tie the score. Drew Greenwood, a rising senior at South Oldham, followed with an RBI double of his own to put Shelbyville on top for good.
“We hit the ball a few times when we had to, but we still didn’t hit it like we should,” Wiley said.
Post 37 (5-8) added another run in the fifth.
Collins senior-to-be Paul Miller led off with a sharp single off the glove of third baseman Jordan Nester. Miller moved to second on Will McDonald’s sacrifice, took third when Clifton hit into a fielder’s choice, then scored on a 2-out, 3-2 balk by Morehead starter Broderick Moore.
Sanders, meanwhile, was cruising at that point. He struck out four of the final seven batters he faced in the sixth and seventh innings.
“My slider was working after the second inning,” Sanders said. “That’s pretty much what I threw the whole time.”
Mathis, a senior-to-be at South Oldham, pitched the final two frames, giving up one hit while striking out two. He retired Morehead in order in the eighth. In the ninth he gave up a one-out single, then got some help from his defense when Clifton, in center field, ran down a long fly ball off the bat of South Whitt.
Logan Bailey led Shelbyville with a pair of hits. Six others had one each.
Post 37, which played at Somerset on Wednesday night, is scheduled to host Bowling Green at 1 p.m. today before playing at Rockport (Ind.) at 1 p.m. Sunday. Shelbyville then begins a three-games-in-three-days homestand when it hosts Danville at 6 p.m. Tuesday.
Shelbyville 4, Morehead 2
Morehead Post 126 110 000 000 – 2 4 0
Shelbyville Post 37 000 310 00X – 4 8 4
Broderick Moore, Jordan Nester (9) and South Whitt. Dan Sanders, Eddie Mathis (8) and Will McDonald. W – Sanders. L – Moore. 2B – Nate Clifton (S), Buddy Johnson (S), Drew Greenwood (S). Record – Shelbyville Post 37 5-8.