SELLERSBURG — It was persistence vs. power at Silver Creek on Wednesday night.
Persistence won out.
The host Dragons rapped 17 hits — including 15 singles — on their way to a 15-8 win over Jeffersonville, which had three home runs and six extra-base hits, in a matchup of two top-5 teams — the second in as many nights for Silver Creek.
“I was really happy with the way we hit the ball today,” Silver Creek coach Joe Decker said. “[It was us] just being on time and being ready to hit. Their attitude at the plate and their approach right now is really good. I don’t think they’re afraid of much. And when you face guys like [Jeff’s] Gabe [Bierman] and [New Albany’s] Chase Rudy, and guys like we’re going to face in sectional, that’s the approach you have to have. Right now it’s pretty good.”
Cleanup hitter Tyler Kapust cleaned up at the plate. The junior, who has recently returned to the lineup, went 3-for-4 with a double, three RBIs and two runs scored. Senior Bryson McNay also went 3-for-4 while Sammy Barnett, Tyler Wheeler, Jack Hawkins and Dylan Whitt added two hits apiece for the Dragons, who have won eight straight since their 17-6 loss to 3A No. 6, and new sectional opponent Providence on the first day of May.
“We had a bunch of talks with Coach Decker since the Providence game,” Kapust said. “We just needed to have a refresher and just light up every team we play.”
The Dragons scored three runs in the bottom of the first on three hits — the biggest was Hawkins’ 2-RBI single up the middle. They were also helped by four wild pitches — the third of which plated Barnett with the game’s first run — by Jeff starter Conner Christopher.
The Red Devils, who had their 12-game winning streak ended, responded with the long ball — a two-run home run by Devyn Rivers in the top of the second.
Silver Creek scored four more runs on four hits — the biggest a 2-RBI double by Kapust — to chase Christopher in the bottom of the second.
“I just wanted to hit the ball hard and score runners,” Kapust said.
Another Jeff homer, this one a 3-run shot by Ethan English, followed by back-to-back doubles by Bailey Falkenstein and Rivers made it 7-6.
“It was just one of those games where you could tell there wasn’t going to be any quick innings,” Decker said. “I told [Jeff coach] Derek [Ellis] after about the second inning, I’m like, ‘I hope you don’t have plans tonight because we’re going to be here for awhile.'”
Silver Creek responded with two runs in the bottom of the third before English’s second homer, a 2-run shot to right, made it 9-8 in the top of the fourth.
But it was all Dragons after that. In the bottom of the fourth Silver Creek scored five runs, two on Whitt’s bases-loaded single, to break it open.
“I love that our team, after every inning that we gave up runs, we bounced back and tried to beat them in that inning,” Kapust said.
Kapust, who missed several games (including the loss to Providence) this season with back and hand injuries, capped the fourth with an RBI-single to center field.
“I don’t know how many games he’s played, maybe eight or 10 all year, but it’s really important for us to have him,” Decker said. “He makes a huge difference in our team. Both in the field and at the plate and leadership-wise. We’re a different team with him on the field.”
“At the end of the day, we scored enough runs to win,” Ellis said. “We hit the ball just as well as they did. But at the end of the day pitchers have got to pitch. … This is a great, great learning experience for these guys to see how they’re going to bounce back now.”
The Red Devils won’t have to wait long. They host Bullitt East (Ky.) tonight on their Senior Night. The Dragons, meanwhile, will try to carry over the momentum from their foray against 4A powers New Albany and Jeff into tonight’s game against Madison.
“I’m really happy for them, but like I told them, ‘You haven’t won anything yet. It’s nice, you beat New Albany and you beat Jeff, but let’s keep working hard, keep working on getting better and don’t get complacent and think you’ve arrived because when you do that, you come out and you get your butt beat tomorrow,'” Decker said.
SILVER CREEK 15, JEFFERSONVILLE 8
Jeffersonville 024 200 0— 8 8 2
Silver Creek 342 510 X—15 17 1
W — Tyler Wheeler (8-0). L — Conner Christopher. 2B — Tyler Kapust (S), Bailey Falkenstein (J), Devyn Rivers (J), Stephen Davis (S). 3B — Hunter Schmitz (J). HR — Rivers (J), Ethan English (J) 2.
Records — Jeffersonville 18-5, Silver Creek 21-2.
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