SELLERSBURG — Tyler Wheeler was nearly untouchable while he and designated hitter Jack Hawkins led a barrage of extra base hits as Silver Creek beat North Harrison 9-0 in the Class 3A Silver Creek Sectional championship on Monday night.
Wheeler had 14 strikeouts and gave up just one hit in six scoreless innings. He also hit two doubles while Hawkins hit a home run and a double. Overall, the Dragons had 14 hits, eight were extra base.
Third-ranked Silver Creek blew it open in the fourth inning with two home runs and four doubles. The Dragons (25-3) advance to play Batesville in the Evansville North Regional at 11 a.m. Saturday morning at Evansville North.
“We thought the start would be big, to get the lead early,” said Silver Creek coach Joe Decker, adding that the home runs “obviously make it a whole lot easier.”
Silver Creek got on the board early against North Harrison starter Max Flock. With one out in the bottom of the first, Bryson McNay drew a walk, then Wheeler helped his own cause with a single into left field.
Courtesy runner Ryan Sierota took over for Wheeler at first. With two outs, freshman Holden Groher singled to right field, scoring McNay and sending Sierota to third. Sierota scored on a wild pitch and the Dragons led 2-0 going into the second.
Wheeler was cruising early on — a walk was his only blemish. He struck out six Cougars in the first two innings.
“I felt like I did a pretty good job locating inside,” said Wheeler, who had started in a Friday night win against Charlestown.
“I’ve played travel ball my whole life. I’m used to day-to-day starts,” he said.
Hawkins got Silver Creek rolling to lead off the Dragons’ second, crushing a home run over the center-field fence for a 3-0 lead.
Wheeler had seven strike outs with one gone in the third inning when Zane Armstrong got North Harrison’s only hit — a single to right field. Armstrong made it to second with two outs but Wheeler’s eighth strikeout quashed the threat.
“He was phenomenal,” Decker said of Wheeler. “It was the best game I’ve seen him pitch.”
Silver Creek added to its lead in the fourth when Dylan Whitt hit a 1-out home run over the left field fence to make it 4-0.
The Dragons put it away later in the inning. Sammy Barnett drew a walk and McNay hit a bloop double over first base to put runners at second and third. Wheeler gave himself some insurance with a 2-run double and the Dragons led 6-0.
Tyler Kapust greeted reliever Justin Deatrick with Silver Creek’s third straight double, this one scored Sierota to make it 7-0. It wasn’t over. Groher stepped up next and hit a 2-run homer over the right-field fence and the Dragons led 9-0. Groher finished with three RBIs.
McNay relieved Wheeler in the seventh and closed out the Cougars.
CLASS 3A SILVER CREEK SECTIONAL
North Harrison 000 000 0—0 1 1
Silver Creek 210 600 x—9 14 1
W – Tyler Wheeler (10-0). L – Max Flock (5-2). 2B – Bryson McNay (S), Tyler Wheeler 2 (S), Tyler Kapust (S), Jack Hawkins (S). HR – Jack Hawkins (S), Dylan Whitt (S), Holden Groher (S).
Records – Silver Creek 25-3, North Harrison 15-13.
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