HIGH SCHOOL BASEBALL: Indians stay on hot streak with win
Indiana collected plenty of hits Wednesday afternoon. Putting enough together in an inning to put a few runs on the board took a little while, though.
Once Indiana did, it had a convincing 7-3 win over Greensburg Salem in a WPIAL Section 2-AAA baseball game at Keystone Rehab Field, giving the Indians a 4-1 record in the five games since a disheartening loss to the same team.
“We have a talented enough team that we know eventually, no matter how late in
the game, we’re going to string a couple hits together,” Indiana senior Jordan Hudzicki said.
The designated hitter, Hudzicki had the key hit in a four-run fifth-inning outburst, cracking a two-run triple to deep right field to give Indiana back the lead, at 4-3.
The Indians (5-5, 4-2 section) pushed across a single run in the first, but they left the bases loaded when Hudzicki struck out looking. Indiana left a man on in each of the next three innings, twice squandering leadoff walks by Trent Ream, stranding him at third base.
Trailing 3-1, Indiana put things together in the fifth. Reserve catcher T.J. Petro knocked in a run with a single, followed by Hudzicki’s smash to right.
“The first two at-bats, I was seeing the ball all right,” Hudzicki said. “The first at-bat I obviously struck out. The second at-bat I hit it right at somebody, so I knew I was on (the pitcher), and I just happened to get a good pitch on the outer half and drove it that way.”
“Jordan did exactly what I told him to do,” Indiana coach Ryan Davies said.
“I told him, ‘Your job is to move these runners around. Use the whole field.’ And he did use the whole field. It was nice to get that merry-go-round going and see our guys fight back from being down. In the past we might’ve rolled over and let the other team take advantage of it, but we kept fighting and clawing.”
Hudzicki scored easily on Ream’s sacrifice fly to center, maxing out the inning for the Indians.
“It was huge for us,” Hudzicki said. “That honestly turned the game around. We took the lead, then (relief pitcher Ryan Creps) shut them down, which was real nice for us. … That was a real big inning for us.”
Creps got the win in three innings of relief.
Starter Sean Thompson was electric, striking out 10 and walking just two, conceding two unearned runs on one hit in four innings. He struck out the first six Greensburg Salem batters of the game, and his first nine outs came via strikeout.
The Lions scored two runs on an error in the fourth, and Thompson’s pitch count was inflated by a 10-pitch at-bat in the first and an 11-pitch battle in the fourth.
“I don’t think they got to him; we gave them some extra outs,” Davies said.
“Everybody knows we’ve got each other’s backs, and we have enough players that can make plays behind (Thompson) and hit the ball whenever he gets in trouble,” Hudzicki said. “He believes in us, and we believe in each other.”
Seven Indiana batters got at least one hit, led by Creps, Thompson and Danny Clark, who had two apiece. While Ream and Bo Putt finished hitless, Ream drew two walks and hit the sacrifice fly, and Putt laid down two sacrifice bunts.
“Pretty much all year it’s been a different couple guys coming through in the clutch for us,” Davies said. “We’ve got guys in the bottom of the order that could bat on the top of the order for a lot of high school teams. So, you get down to 6-7-8-9, I have as much confidence in them as I do in guys at the top of the order.”
Indiana visited Greensburg Salem (2-7, 2-3) on April 1 and led 8-4 after 4 1/2 innings. Ten errors and 11 walks made for disaster, though, and the Indians lost to the Lions, 13-10, and fell to 1-4 on the season.
“Honestly, I think we just finally got the rust out,” Hudzicki said. “(An early-season trip to) South Carolina was a little different for us, because we didn’t really know who we were playing, and we beat ourselves up at the beginning of the year. … At this point in the season, we’re on the right track.”
“We’re just kind of clicking right now,” Davies added. “I told the guys we’re playing pretty sound baseball. I don’t think we’ve reached our potential by any means, but we’re playing good, clean baseball.”