BY GREG BURTON
Special to Southern Indiana Preps
SELLERSBURG — In the showcase matchup in local baseball sectional action Thursday night, Class 3A No. 3 Silver Creek applied pressure from the outset and defeated No. 5 Providence by a score of 7-3 in the first round of the Class 3A Silver Creek Sectional.
The pressure was of the offensive variety. The pitching was not too shabby, either.
"The pressure was continually on us the whole game," said Providence coach Scott Hornung. "Even after we scored runs, they'd come back and put runners on base. They'd hit and get a run or two here and there. I just never felt like we could get away from the pressure of their offense."
Silver Creek coach Joe Decker concurred.
"We got baserunners on. We had the leadoff on a whole lot. That was key," Decker said.
The Dragons scored in the top of the first inning on a solo home run over the center-field fence by Bryson McNay. This set the stage for the rest of the game, as Providence had to play catch-up the remainder of the game.
Silver Creek (23-3) made it 2-0 in the second inning. Jack Hawkins singled, and then he scored a few pitches later after two wild pitches by Providence starter Christian Graf.
Dragons pitcher Sammy Barnett was masterful through the first three innings, facing the minimum nine batters. Barnett pitched a complete game, allowing the three runs (two earned) on seven base hits, while striking out nine.
"He's our senior captain," said Decker. "When they (Providence, a 17-7 win during the regular season) beat us the last time, I preferred to play them first in the sectional. That way I knew I'd have Sammy on the mound. I'll take Sammy on the mound and take our chances. He pitched great."
Providence (20-4) cut the deficit in half in the bottom of the fourth inning. Kaden Williams led off with a single, went to second base on a wild pitch, and then stole third. He later came home on a single by Reece Davis.
Silver Creek immediately got the run back in the top of the fifth inning, however. McNay collected his third hit of the night, a single, and drove in Dylan Whitt, making the score 3-1.
Providence had a bad break in the bottom of the fifth. With one out, Zach Tackett singled. An out later, Williams doubled to right center field. However, the ball bounced over the field for a ground rule double. Tackett would undoubtedly have scored on the play. After an intentional walk to Timmy Borden, Adam Uhl grounded out to shortstop, leaving the bases loaded.
The Dragons appeared about to run away from the Pioneers in the sixth inning, adding a pair of runs. With the bases loaded, Whitt knocked in Ryan Sierota to make it 4-1. Barnett followed up with a sacrifice fly to stretch the advantage to 5-1.
"That was a big hit by Dylan Whitt in the nine-hole with bases loaded," said Decker. "Up and down the lineup, the guys did their job."
Providence made another run in the bottom of the sixth inning, plating two runs to edge to 5-3. Nathan Proctor singled home Davis, who had doubled. Joe Wilkinson later scored on an error.
Silver Creek again immediately came back and applied the pressure, scoring twice in the seventh inning. Tyler Kapust and Holden Groher crossed the plate in the inning.
Providence went down in order to end the game.
"We couldn't get that one hit that would put us over the top and keep it going. They (SC) just seemed to get theirs across," said Hornung.
"It was a good win," said Decker. "We hit well, and we didn't fold. We had a couple of times where I thought we got a little shaky on defense, and nerves got us a little bit, but overall, we responded."
Silver Creek will play Charlestown on Friday night in the second semifinal. Game time will approximately be 7:30.
CLASS 3A SILVER CREEK SECTIONAL
SILVER CREEK 7, PROVIDENCE 3
Silver Creek 110 012 2—7 8 1
Providence 000 102 0—3 7 0
W — Sammy Barnett 5-1. L — Christian Graf 5-2. 2B — Holden Groher (SC), Kaden Williams (P), Reece Davis (P). HR — Bryson McNay (SC).
Multiple hit players: Silver Creek — McNay 3-4, 1 R, 2 RBI, 1 SB; Jack Hawkins 2-4, 1 R, Dylan Whitt 2-4, 2 R, 1 RBI.
Multiple hit players: Providence — Williams 2-4, 1 R, 1 SB, Davis 2-4, 1 R, 1 RBI, 1 SB.
Barnett pitching line: 7 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 9 K, 2 BB.
Graf pitching line: 4 2/3 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 3 K, 2 BB.
Records: Silver Creek 23-3, Providence 20-4