Jasper throws combined one-hitter in rout of Aces
MOUNT CARMEL -- Mount Carmel head baseball coach Shea Smith knew Wednesday night’s game against Jasper would be a challenge and he was right. He had been harping to his team in recent days of the importance of this game, the last time this senior class will play the Wildcats.
The Aces were overwhelmed by the Wildcats, falling 9-0 in seven innings to Jasper at Mount Carmel on Wednesday night, partially due to an exceptional collective pitching performance by Jasper and some errors committed by Mount Carmel.
At the start it appeared as if the Aces were ready for the challenge. Senior Ashton Walker took the mound for Mount Carmel and retired the side in the top half of the first inning. In the bottom half the Aces went 1-2-3 in the inning as well, with the first three batters all flying out to right field.
Jasper (1-0) struck first in the second inning following an errant throw on a grounder to the third baseman, who couldn’t find first baseman Bret Doan on the connection to first, scoring the first run of the game and giving the Wildcats a 1-0 lead.
On Wednesday Smith had spoke to his team of the importance of limiting their habitual one bad inning, but that struck against the Aces in the third inning. A couple of errors assisted Jasper in their four-run third inning, giving the Wildcats a 5-0 lead. For the game the Aces committed five errors, an unusually high number and one Smith knows his team can remedy.
“Yeah, our team knew Ashton was going to throw strikes, going to make them swing and we knew we had to make plays,” Smith said. “Those guys make those 99 times out of 100, it was one of those weird times where [it was] two of our most reliable fielders. We talked to them a little bit, they at least continued to play, they made the next play, that’s something that always finds you. I’m just glad they battled back, if we’re going to be a really good team that’s something we’re going to have to overcome.”
Mount Carmel’s hitters couldn’t generate much positive momentum against the Wildcats pitching, but it wasn’t due to a lack of effort. The Aces knocked a plethora of shots to the outfield and put the ball in play, Jasper just did an exceptional job of fielding and wouldn’t allow the Aces to get their first hit of the game until the bottom of the fifth, when sophomore left fielder Kaleb Applebey would hit a double to break up the no-hitter. Applebey in scoring position, as well as a walk and a pair of impressive stolen bases by sophomore Rayce Loudermilk (one of which coming on a pickoff attempt) would be the closest the Aces would come to scoring.
“They’re always really good fielders, that’s something they really take pride in as you can see as the game’s going on,” Smith said. “Those are balls that fall against a lot of teams. That right fielder is quick, he probably stopped three or four hits and that’s what it came down to on a couple of them. We got a guy on third in one of the innings, had something going but they made sure we weren’t going to get it moving too much.”
Jasper tacked on four additional runs in the ensuing innings, pushing the lead to 9-0. Walker pitched five innings of six hit, nine run baseball, six of which were earned. Applebey and junior Cade Newkirk came on in relief, throwing two innings to close it out. Applebey allowed a sacrifice fly and hit a batter to score two runs, but both runs were charged to Walker, Newkirk blanketed the Wildcat hitters.
Now, Mount Carmel (3-3) will turn its attention to a home game against Carmi on Saturday. The Bulldogs (2-5) will face Aces senior Logan Durham, who’s set to take the mound. The game’s tenatively slated for 11 a.m., but is subject to change due to rain.
“Saturday we got Carmi, it’s a normal regional team, they’re a little down this year so we’ll see.” Smith said.
J -- 0 1 4 1 0 3 0 -- 9
MC - 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 -- 0
MC notable hitting: Applebey 1-for-3, double, Loudermilk 0-for-2, 1 BB, 2 SB.
MC pitching: Walker 5 IP, 9 R, 6 ER, 1 K, 7 BB. Applebey 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB. Newkirk 1 IP 0 H, 0 R, 2 K.