A happier ending: Roy's bare-handed catch for final out secures Hebron's PCC win over South Central
UNION MILLS -- The last time Trever Roy played at South Central, things didn't go well.
"I was pitching the last inning, and I gave up a ton of runs," the Hebron junior said. "I blew the game for us."
This time, fortune smiled on Roy, and just barely.
With the Hawks clinging to an 8-7 lead over the Satellites, Roy, Hebron's shortstop, drifted toward third base for Tyler Carr's popup, which bounced out of his glove, but was snared bare-handed for the final out.
"It kind of just kept going and it hit me right in the palm, so it popped out," Roy said. "It was just relief. It definitely felt good. They're a super good team. It gives us a lot of confidence. Hopefully we can do it again in the sectional."
The Satellites scored four runs in the seventh to make it tight and would have tied the game had the ball eluded Roy.
"My heart about dropped to my feet then went right back up to my throat," said Wayne Straka, a former assistant who took over as head coach less than two weeks before the season. "Unbelievable. Trever's such a great kid, for something like that to happen to him, I'm just very happy for him. I'm just glad we hung on. This is a huge confidence win for us. We know they're the team to beat in the sectional. It gives us a lot of momentum. Those guys on the bus are feeling real good."
A dropped third strike to start the seventh had Straka muttering, 'here we go,' to his assistant coach, and a string of four batters with a two walks, a Brad Ferrell hit and an error made it 8-4 with the bases loaded and none out.
"We always make it interesting with these guys," Straka said. "We've been in really tight games the last few years, played close games, blew big leads. Sometimes it takes (Patrick) a while to get settled in. They're a really good team, we knew they were going to give us trouble in the seventh inning, especially with the top of the order. Those guys can hit."
After a strikeout and a run-scoring wild pitch, Brayden Grass grounded out to third to bring S.C. within one and put the tying run 90 feet away.
"We didn't adjust well, we didn't hit, simple as that," Satellites coach Zach Coulter said. "We put a little pressure on them, put the ball in play, and good things happened. It was tough luck to an extent but we've got to execute better. I'm proud of the way they battled all the way to the end and made it a game. That's a heck of a catch, great focus to remain on that all the way to the ground. I thought as soon as it hit out of (Roy's) glove, it was going to be a tie ball game."
Hebron ace Jackson Peeler went six innings, allowing just four hits and one earned run, but was at the 120-pitch limit.
"We'll get a chance to see him again at the sectional, so I guess hopefully getting the chance to see him before helps and we can adjust a little better," Coulter said. "There was a little lethargy running through the group. I don't like the old cliche, trap game, it was more a hangover game from beating Boone Grove than anything, but you've got to show up ready to play every day, and that's our challenge from here until Memorial Day. You're going to have big wins and you have to execute in the next game."
Carr breezed through three innings before Hebron (10-7, 4-2) broke a scoreless tie in the fourth. It blew up for five runs in the fifth when a wind-blown popup just outside thr infield fell among a group of Satellites, which proved damaging as the bottom third of the Hawks order -- Matt Dagostino (bases-loaded walk), Luke Charpentier (RBI single) and Owen Walstra (two-run single) delivered four two-out runs.
"Mental mistakes came back and bit us," Coulter said. "We didn't have communication up the middle on a fly ball that dropped in the Bermuda Triangle and they ended up scoring four runs. The damage that was done after the fact. Plays like that win and lose close ball games. Really, the pitching, I don't have a beef. We didn't walk a ton. Fhey had little duck snorts. It seemed like every ball they put in play found the little holes, Kansas City Specials, as Hawk Harrelson would say. Hats off to Hebron for a good game plan that they executed."
Walstra added what proved to be a crucial run in the seventh with a two-out bloop over second base to plate Dagostino, who also singled in a run.
"We're an older team, but we've had some freshmen and sophomores step up for us," Straka said. "We have freshmen in some spots they probably wouldn't have thought they'd be in earlier in the season, and they've actually started coming through for us the last three, four games. That's been absolutely key. Last year, once we got to six through nine, we really struggled hitting. We're confident with everybody one through nine now."
South Central (13-6, 6-1) was denied the outright PCC title due to the loss.
"We've got to put it in the rearview and keep moving forward," Coulter said. "It's still a conference championship season for us. It's just not the way we would have liked to end it."
South Central's Colin Ward attempts to steal in Friday's game against Hebron. Ward was called out on the play. (Photo by Mike Kellems)
Umpire Mike Albers talks to Hebron pitcher Jackson Peeler during Friday's game at South Central. Peeler was the winner in the 8-7 Hawks victory that denied the Satellites an outright Porter County Conference title. (Photo by Mike Kellems)