By GREG BURTON
Special to Southern Indiana Preps
CLARKSVILLE — Special occasions such as Senior Nights can sometimes play havoc with sports teams. The Providence baseball team experienced no letdowns in its Senior Night game against visiting Brownstown Central on Tuesday.
The Class 3A No. 6 Pioneers took control of the game in the bottom of the first inning. Providence scored three times in its initial at-bat and never looked back. The result was a 10-1 victory, which raised Providence's record to 18-3 on the season.
"I was really happy we came out and established ourselves on Senior Night," said Providence coach Scott Hornung. "Sometimes it doesn't go the right direction when you have those types of things. I was happy to see the guys did the right things, and we were able to play everybody (the seniors) the whole game and that they could enjoy it."
Providence never let the foot off the throttle either on offense or on the mound. The Pioneers collected 11 base hits, while starting pitcher Zach Tackett pitched six innings, giving up only four base hits, allowing one unearned run, striking out six and walking none.
"I like double figures (in hits)," said Hornung. "And that was the best performance Tackett has had for a length of time this year. He's been a middle reliever or set-up kind of guy for us. But tonight, he was in control of the strike zone with all of his pitches."
Tackett retired Brownstown in order in the top of the first inning, and then the Pioneers got rolling on offense.
With one out, Preston Taylor walked. Timmy Borden followed with a single, and then Reece Davis drove both Pioneers home with a base hit. One out later, Adam Uhl drove home Davis, and the Pioneers led 3-0.
They added to their lead in the bottom of the third inning. Taylor got things rolling again, as he led off the frame by getting hit by a pitch. Two outs later, Nathan Proctor drove one down the left-field line that left the park, making the score 5-0.
The Pioneers added two more runs in the fifth inning. Borden doubled to lead off the fifth, and Davis drove Borden in. Davis ended up with three RBIs for the evening. Two outs later, senior Connor Finnegan doubled home Davis, extending the lead to 7-0.
Brownstown (12-11) scored its only run in the top of the sixth. Seth Borden and Matthew Garland each singled to get things going. Tackett got the next two batters out.
It appeared Tackett was going to get out of the small jam without incident when the next batter, Ian Martin, hit a grounder to Proctor at third base. Proctor mishandled the ball, however, loading the bases. Clayton Barger then hit a single to score the Braves' only run, making the score 7-1.
Providence put three more runs on the board in the bottom of the sixth to complete the game's scoring. Timmy Borden drove in Tackett with a sacrifice fly. Then two batters later, Proctor smacked a double, driving in two more runs to make the score 10-1. Proctor finished with four RBIs for the game.
"You never know what he's going to do," said Hornung of Proctor. "He's always got the ability to power one out of here. Down there where he hits in the order, it's a big plus for us when he hits."
Hornung replaced Tackett with Hunter Sprigler in the top of the seventh. Sprigler retired the first two batters without incident.
Then Hornung lifted Sprigler and brought in Davis to try to record the final out. Davis has not been able to pitch this season due to an arm injury, and only recently has he been available to bat.
Davis, a right-handed hurler who it was hoped would anchor their pitching corps this season, came to the mound with a glove on his right hand. He attempted to pitch left-handed. He walked the only batter he faced.
Timmy Borden then relieved Davis and struck out Garland to end the game.
Providence has two regular-season games remaining. The Pioneers will travel to Austin on Wednesday for a 5:30 p.m. start, followed by a home game against Lanesville on Thursday at 7 p.m.
"We're trying to finish the race here," said Hornung. "The last two weeks have been long. I'm hoping we can keep our stamina these last two days, and then get some rest heading into the tournament."
Providence will play Class 3A No. 3 Silver Creek on Thursday, May 24, at 5:30 p.m. in the opening round of the Class 3A Silver Creek Sectional.
PROVIDENCE 10, BROWNSTOWN CENTRAL 1
Brownstown 000 001 0— 1 5 1
Providence 302 023 x—10 11 1
W — Zach Tackett (3-0). L — Ian Martin (0-2). 2B — Jalen Tiemeyer (B), Connor Finnegan (P), Timmy Borden (P), Nathan Proctor (P). HR — Proctor (P).
Records: Providence 18-3, Brownstown Central 12-11.
Multiple hit players: Providence — Borden 2-3, 2 R, 1 RBI, 1 SB; Proctor 2-4, 1 R, 4 RBIs; Reece Davis 2-3, 3 R, 3 RBIs; Finnegan 2-3, 1 RBI.
Tackett pitching line: 6 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 6 K, 0 BB.
Martin pitching line: 2 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 K, 1 BB.