Saturday, April 7, 2018

BASEBALL: Huge fifth inning lifts Providence over Morton, 10-2

Special to Southern Indiana Preps
CLARKSVILLE — Providence bided its time in the second game of the Super Prep Tournament on Friday night against Morton High School from Peoria, Ill.
The Class 3A No. 10 Pioneers were held scoreless on one hit over the first four innings. They then exploded for 10 runs over the next two innings to down the visiting Potters by a score of 10-2. The win upped host Providence to 2-0 on the season.
"That's two games in a row where we've been able to come through with some plays offensively," said Providence coach Scott Hornung. "We've seen tough pitching to start the year off with. The pitchers have been tough with both their breaking pitches and their location. I'm really proud of the guys to do that back-to-back nights at the beginning of the nights."
The game appeared to be shaping up as a pitcher's duel through the first four innings. Morton pitcher Logan Peterson held the Pioneers to a single hit through the first four frames. Providence fireballer Joe Wilkinson likewise kept Morton from doing anything as well. The Providence junior held the Potters to one run in the third inning, while scattering three hits through that same time.
The game was Wilkinson's first pitching performance in two seasons. He did not pitch at all last year due to Tommy John surgery. He was dominating in this performance.
Morton (4-2) scored its only run off Wilkinson (1-0) in the third inning. The No. 9 batter in the order, Evan Heal, doubled with one out, and then moved to third on a single by Nick Guerra. Heal scored when the next batter, Evan Pfeifer, laid down a bunt on the squeeze play, making the score 1-0.
Those were the last of the hits off Wilkinson. He went five innings, surrendering three hits, striking out eight and walking just two.
"Wilkinson did excellent, coming off Tommy John the first time out," said Hornung. "He doesn't lose composure, doesn't get rattled. I'm very proud of him. His MO coming up was a hard thrower and not much control, but he's improved quite a bit in that over the years."
Meanwhile, Peterson was coasting along for Morton, striking out six batters over four innings. He would not survive the fifth inning, however, as Providence sent 11 men to the plate. Peterson did not record an out in the inning, and the Pioneers chased him after four batters.
Zach Tackett led off the inning with a hard-hit ball to shortstop, which was misplayed into an error. Christian Graf followed with a double, putting runners on second and third base with no outs. Kaden Williams then walked to load the bases. Preston Taylor was then hit by a pitch, scoring Tackett to tie the game at 1-1.
This ended Peterson's time on the mound, as he was relieved by Vinni Massaglia.
A passed ball and a wild pitch scored Graf and Williams, giving the lead to Providence at 3-1. The Pioneers would never surrender the lead the remainder of the game, but they kept piling on from that point.
Timmy Borden walked to keep the rally going. It then appeared as if the inning was going to be over without any more damage when Adam Uhl popped out to first and Wilkinson struck out. Nathan Proctor got hit by a pitch, however, and Eli Watson doubled home two more runs. Proctor later scored on a wild pitch, and the Pioneers had plated six runs in the inning to build a 6-1 advantage.
The Pioneers batted around again in the sixth inning, scoring four more runs on just two hits. Morton committed two errors, however, helping Providence's cause.
Williams started the inning with a triple to right field, and he scored when the relay throw was mishandled for an error. Again, pitching problems plagued Morton, with a couple of passed balls, and an error by pitcher Brandon Brown set the table for more Providence runs. At this point, Providence led 10-1.
Morton put a single run on the board in its final at-bat against Providence reliever Hunter Sprigler to make the final score 10-2.
The Pioneers will travel to Salem at 5:45 p.m. Wednesday.
Note: Providence’s final game of the Super Prep Tournament on Saturday against Morgan Park (Ill.) was cancelled because of snow.

Morton         001 000 1—  2 6 4
Providence   000 064 x—10 5 0
W — Joe Wilkinson (1-0). L — Logan Peterson (1-1). 2B — Evan Heal (M), Christian Graf (P), Eli Watson (P), Ashton Holcomb (M). 3B — Kaden Williams (P).
Records: Providence 2-0, Morton 4-2.
Multiple hit players: Morton — Nick Guerra 2-3, RBI; Isaac Weber 2-3; Providence — Eli Watson 2-3, 2 RBIs.
Wilkinson pitching line: 5 IP, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 H, 8 K, 2 BB.
Peterson pitching line: 4 IP, 4 R, 2 ER, 2 H, 6 K, 2 BB.

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