EVANSVILLE — Silver Creek didn’t just make history Saturday night, it made a statement.
The Dragons downed Evansville Memorial 7-1 in the Class 3A Evansville Bosse Regional final at Evansville North to claim their first-ever Regional title.
But it wasn’t easy. Silver Creek, making its eighth regional appearance and sixth in eight years, needed a two-run home run from Tyler Kapust to beat Batesville 6-4 in Saturday afternoon’s Regional semifinals. Then in the championship game, the third-ranked Dragons got another big effort from Sammy Barnett on the mound and some timely hits in their six-run win over the sixth-ranked Tigers.
“This is really good,” soaking wet Silver Creek coach Joe Decker said after getting doused with ice water after the victory. “I’m pretty tired, but it feels really, really good and really special and I’m really happy for those guys, because we said all along they were a special group. For them to be the ones that finally break through is kind of justice. But hopefully we’re not done.”
The Dragons (27-3) will face No. 10 Indian Creek (25-5) in a semistate game at Jasper Saturday at approximately 3 o clock. The Braves edged West Vigo 5-4 in the Crawfordsville Regional final.
The other state semifinal, which will be played at Kokomo or Plymouth, will pit No 1 Andrean against Jay County.
Silver Creek trailed unranked Batesville 4-3 entering the top of the seventh inning, but after pitcher Tyler Wheeler reached base, Kapust hit a dramatic go-ahead home run to send the Dragons into the championship game.
“I think it was a full count and he threw me one right down the middle and I just hit it, I unloaded on that one,” the junior third baseman said. “Running around the bases I was grabbing the moment. It was amazing.”
In the nightcap, which was delayed by lightning, Barnett struck out 10 and tossed a three-hitter as Silver Creek topped the Tigers, who entered with 17 regional championships to their credit.
“We just pecked away, we kept the pressure on them and [scored] a run here and a run there,” Decker said. “Sammy was great again. He just battled through adversity. He had one bad inning where he had a couple walks and a hit by pitch, but the double play got us out [of a jam].”
“I had to locate every fastball,” said the future Hoosier. “I had to fight them every at-bat. Seven stressful innings against a very good hitting team. It took an A-plus effort on my part.”
But with the bags still full, Barnett induced a 4-6-3 double play to end the threat. Later in the fifth, Memorial had two on after a double by Michael Linaduer and a hit by pitch to Caleb Meeks. The Dragons however got out of the inning with a pop-out.
Silver Creek got two on the board in the fourth via a pair of wild pitches. The back-breaker for Memorial came in the sixth. Dylan Whitt connected for a single to score one and Barnett brought another in on a ground out.
Bryson McNay capped the three-run inning with an infield single. Tyler Kapust, who hit the go-ahead two-run homer in the seventh against Batesville in the afternoon, was 2-for-3 with a RBI for Silver Creek.
Holden Groher, also an IU commit, reached base three times and connected for a triple.
“This has been our mountain that we have never been able to climb,” said Barnett. “We have had some really good teams. We are just the ones that were finally able to get over the hump.”
CLASS 3A EVANSVILLE BOSSE REGIONAL
At Evansville North
SILVER CREEK 6, BATESVILLE 4
Silver Creek 200 010 3—6 11 1
Batesville 201 010 0—4 4 0
W — Tyler Wheeler. L — Sam Voegele. 2B — Sammy Barnett (S), Tyler Kapust (S), Quinn Werner (B), Drew Bush (S), Jack Hawkins (S). HR — Tyler Kapust (S).
Records — Silver Creek 26-3, Batesville 18-11.
SILVER CREEK 7, EV. MEMORIAL 1
Silver Creek 200 203 0—7 7 0
Ev. Memorial 001 000 0—1 3 2
W — Sammy Barnett (6-1). L — Michael Lindauer (6-1). 2B — Michael Lindauer (E). 3B — Holden Groher (S).
Records — Silver Creek 27-3, Evansville Memorial 23-7.