Nichols, a hard-throwing junior left hander, shutdown the Tiger offense with seven hits while striking out three in the complete-game victory in the pitching duel of two of the top pitchers in the region.
Meanwhile, Webster got an early run off CCHS pitching Eric Sindelar in the first inning thanks to a Tiger error. Sindelar retired Brennan Pritchett and struck out Jalen Wallace. But the third strike eluded the Tiger catcher and Wallace sprinted to first base safely. He moved to second on Reese Johnson’s groundout and then raced home on a clutch, two-out single from cleanup hitter Tyler Hedrick.
“That was a big hit, grabbing an early lead against a very good team and a very good pitcher in Sindelar,” noted WCHS head coach Tom Welshans. “It was great to get on top. That gave us a bit of confidence especially with Hunter on the mound. Our guys have confidence in him and think they have a chance to beat anybody when he’s pitching.”
Nichols breezed through the Tiger lineup until giving up back-to-back singles in the bottom of the fourth with two outs. But an easy pop-up to first base ended that rally.
Caldwell tied the game in the bottom of the fifth when lead-off hitter Jordan Young singled. A balk moved him to second and then he sprinted to third on a passed ball two pitches later. He came in to score on a sacrifice fly from Heath Stewart.
Caldwell had a shot to take the lead in the sixth but some nice defense from the Trojans killed the rally. With two outs, Chad Blackburn struck out but the final pitch got away from WC catcher Wallace and Blackburn sprinted to first. Courtesy runner Heath Oliver stole second and went to third on a wild pitch. He tried to score on a fastball squirted away from Wallace, but the senior catcher recovered the ball and put the tag on Oliver at the plate to end the inning.
Webster then got another ‘big time’ hit from one of its seniors to take the lead in the seventh. Alex Mitchell was issued a one-out walk by Sindelar and he moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Kyle Hayes. Brennan Pritchett then delivered a two-out single to drive in Mitchell with the winning run.
“These seniors have to step up for us to be successful and today they did that. It was a great win and hopefully will give us some momentum for the rest of the tournament,” Welshans stated. “We did the little things today to win the game. Make routine defensive plays, move runners over with bunts and take advantage of their mistakes. We also did a good job of taking some pitches against a very good pitcher. That put a little pressure on him”
Hedrick led the Trojans with two singles while Pritchett, Nichols and Mitchell had one single each. Webster now stands at 9-11 on the season and played Crittenden County Tuesday in the semi-final round of the ‘All A’ Regional at Tradewater Park in Dawson Springs.
Webster County 1
Graves County 3
The Trojans wasted another strong pitching performance from Hunter Nichols last Tuesday in Dixon as Graves County rallied with two runs in the top of the eighth to escape with a 3-1 victory.
Nichols surrendered a single run in the first inning on a walk, fielder’s choice, stolen base and bloop single over second base. That would be the only hit he would allow until his final inning in the top of the seventh. He left the game after seven innings with the game tied 1-1 after striking out 10. The Trojans had baserunners in just about every inning but couldn’t push across a run until the fifth. Logan Prow opened the rally with a single and he moved to second on a sacrifice bunt. He scored one out later on a fielder’s choice from Kyle Hayes.
The game stayed at 1-1 until the Eagles put together a two-out, two-run rally in the eighth off WCHS reliever Tyler Hedrick. The senior righthander got the first two Graves hitters but then ran into trouble with a walk, stolen base and back-to-back singles. The second hit, which scored both runs, glanced off the glove of a diving Brennan Pritchett at shortstop. Prow led the Trojans with three hits while Pritchett, Hedrick and Reese Johnson had one hit each. Webster stranded seven baserunners in the game.
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