BY GREG BURTON
Special to Southern Indiana Preps
SELLERSBURG — Sometimes, as the Beatles would say, you get by with a little help from your friends.
In the case of Class 3A No. 3 Silver Creek on Friday night, those friends turn out to be your opponents.
The Dragons broke open a scoreless game in the fourth inning against Charlestown and won easily by an 8-2 score in the Class 3A Sectional 30 semifinals at Silver Creek. They posted a five-spot in the fourth inning thanks to three errors by the Pirates and a home run by catcher Stephen Davis.
All five runs were unearned, and for the game Silver Creek (24-3) mustered just three base hits. However, it kept things going at the right time to keep scoring.
The victory means the Dragons will play in the Sectional 30 championship on Monday at 6:30 p.m. against North Harrison. Sectional officials changed the time Saturday, as the game was originally scheduled for 1 p.m. The Cougars advanced with a 9-6 win over Brownstown Central in Friday’s first semifinal.
Charlestown starting pitcher Aaron Meyer rolled through the first three innings, retiring the Dragons in order. He would not remain, though, through the completion of the fourth inning as the Dragons chased him. Or possibly more accurately, his team chased him with their three errors.
"After seeing hard throwers (Thursday night against Providence), Aaron was a change of pace," said Silver Creek head coach Joe Decker. "It just took us awhile to figure him out. We're an experienced team, though. Our guys didn't get rattled."
In the fateful fourth, Dragon leadoff batter Sammy Barnett walked. Bryson McNay hit into a fielder’s choice, eliminating Barnett.
McNay attempted to steal second base, and on the pick-off throw, Meyer threw wildly to first base, allowing McNay to move all the way to third.
Tyler Wheeler came to the plate and laid down a bunt on the squeeze play. Charlestown first baseman Alec Evans fielded the ball cleanly, but simply held the ball, allowing McNay to score and Wheeler to be safe at first.
Wheeler stole second, and the throw from catcher Andrew Snider went into center field, allowing Wheeler to move to third. There was still just one out, and the Pirates had committed two errors.
After a walk to Tyler Kapust and a fly out to second by Holden Groher, the damage had been confined to a single run. Then, when Jack Hawkins lifted a pop-up to the right side of the infield, it appeared as if Meyer had escaped further damage.
The pop-up turned into a nightmare for Charlestown (12-13), however, as Evans could not haul it in, scoring courtesy runners Ryan Sierota and Kapust for a 3-0 lead.
This brought Davis to the plate, who launched a rocket out of the park, making the score 5-0 and chasing Meyer. The Dragons scored all five of their runs while accumulating a single hit—the dinger by Davis.
Silver Creek added two more runs in the fifth. Dylan Whitt, who led off the inning by being hit by a pitch, scored the first run two outs later. He and Sierota pulled off a double steal as Whitt raced home.
Sierota then scored on an RBI single by Kapust.
The Dragons completed their scoring in the sixth without the benefit of a hit. Courtesy runner Davis DeWitt moved from second to third on a passed ball, and then he proceeded home when the throw to third base got past Charlestown third baseman Brendan Brainard.
Decker lifted starter and winner Tyler Wheeler after five innings. Wheeler allowed just 2 hits in 5 innings and struck out 7 batters.
Charlestown got its only runs in the sixth inning off McNay, who relieved Wheeler. They got their runs without getting a hit. McNay issued three bases on balls during the inning, threw a couple of wild pitches, and Silver Creek also made an error. McNay did record three strikeouts, but each run crossed the plate on wild pitches.
CLASS 3A SILVER CREEK SECTIONAL
SILVER CREEK 8, CHARLESTOWN 2
Silver Creek 000 521 0—8 3 1
Charlestown 000 002 0—2 2 4
W — Tyler Wheeler. L — Aaron Meyer. 2B — Brady Latham (C). HR — Stephen Davis (SC).
Team records: Silver Creek 24-3, Charlestown 12-13.
Multiple hit players: Silver Creek — Wheeler 2-4, 1 RBI.
Wheeler pitching line: 5 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 7 K, 1 BB.
Meyer pitching line: 3 2/3 IP, 2 H, 5 R, 0 ER, 0K, 2 BB.