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Shelby County right-hander Corey Williams threw a 1-hitter at Lexington Dunbar on Wednesday night to end the Rockets’ two-game losing streak, 4-0.
Williams, a senior right-hander, was in trouble only in the first inning, when he walked two men, and he shut down the 2007 state champions with the help of solid defense.
“He did a great job,” Coach Bart Roettger said. “He got his curveball over early in the count and did a good job of mixing up pitches. They [Dunbar] never really got their bats square all night.”
Roettger also praised SCHS’s defense, especially the play of junior shortstop Brian Straub in place of starter Tyler Tipton, who injured a finger on a bunt attempt against North Bullitt on Tuesday.
“We thought it was broken,” Roettger said. “But it looks like he jammed it really good. He’s probably out for a week.”
That would mean he could miss Tuesday night’s opener against Spencer County in the 30th District Tournament. Roettger said he wasn’t sure about that yet.
But he was sure about his team’s defense on Wednesday. “That was probably our best defensive game all year,” he said. “We made a lot of good plays.”
Shelby scored three runs in the second by playing “small ball,” using bunts, stolen bases and defensive mistakes to manufacture runs, with the bottom of the lineup doing the work.
A bunt hit by John Hunter was a key in the second, and his leadoff walk in the sixth led to the other run, which scored on Nick Hamblin’s sacrifice fly.
The victory for the Rockets (16-10) ended a frustrating week of rain-plagued games against top teams in a schedule designed to strengthen them for the district.
Games in Campbellsville canceled last Saturday, and Roettger chose rival Scott County for a makeup game. The Rockets were hammered, 11-1.
On Tuesday they faced North Bullitt and lost, 3-2, despite a route-going pitching job by senior lefthander Scott Clemmons.
“That was a heart-breaker,” Roettger said. “We had been hitting the ball really well – our team average was over .330 going into the game against Scott County. We faced two really good pitchers against Scott and North Bullitt.”
After tonight’s scheduled finale at Trinity, it’s on to the district, which will be played at SCHS, starting Tuesday. Top-seeded Anderson County faces Eminence at 6 p.m. in the opener. SCHS-Spencer is at 8.
“I feel a lot better about it [district] after last [Wednesday] night,” Roettger said. “We’ve been playing good baseball the majority of the year, and we’ll be as good as our pitching takes us.
“Take away Scott County, our pitching has been a lot sharper. Our pitchers have been getting ahead, having command in the strike zone and keeping hitters off balance.”
SCHS beat Spencer, 8-3, earlier in the year, and Roettger said he would wait until game time to say who would be his starting pitcher.
“Spencer has played good at times this year,” he said. “They have two nice pitchers. We were fortunate when we beat them. We took advantage of defensive lapses.
“But if we stay aggressive and get pitching, I like our chances.”