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Floyd Central chills Red Devils for title

Class 4A Baseball Sectional Final
Floyd Central chills Red Devils for title
Floyd Central chills Red Devils for title
The Floyd Central boys’ baseball team celebrates winning its first baseball sectional since 2015, beating conference rival Jeffersonville 7-1. Photos by Wade Bell
By Wade Bell, Sports Writer

It had been six years since the Floyd Central Highlanders baseball team had been able to carry some sectional hardware home for its trophy case. On Memorial Day, the Highlanders ended that drought with a 7-1 win over conference rival Jeffersonville for the 2021 championship.

“This is the way we’ve been all year,” said Floyd Central coach Casey LaDuke. “Our pitching has been solid. Our defense has been getting the job done. We’ve been hitting the ball well. Everything has come together when we needed to.”

Floyd Central chills Red Devils for title
Jeffersonville’s Max McEwen eats some dirt and barely gets back to first base on a Floyd Central pick-off play in the first inning with Floyd Central’s Ty Becker.

Jeffersonville threatened in the top of the first with a pair of base runners, but Floyd Central pitcher Casey Sorg put a halt to that, striking out Xavier Hart and Chate Amick. The Highlanders then put their first run on the board in the bottom of the inning. Jake Thompson hit a first-pitch single and later stole second. Sorg then rapped a single, scoring Thompson and the Highlanders had a 1-0 lead.

Jeffersonville went three up and down in the second and third innings. Meanwhile, Floyd Central put more runs on the board, first scoring on the second following a double by Tristan Polk. Dylan Hogan moved the Floyd Central senior to third on a sacrifice bunt, then Max Tripure hit a sacrifice fly, scoring Polk for a 2-0 lead. Floyd Central used its bats again in the third with singles by Bailey Taylor and Evan Goforth for another run, and the Highlanders had a 3-0 cushion.

“We’ve talked all year that we have to be good on defense,” said Tripure. “We knew our pitching was going to be really good because we have a great staff. We’ve just got to back up the pitcher and make the plays because we want to pitch to contact. We came out and didn’t make the errors and made the big plays when we needed them.”

Neither team scored in the fourth, and Sorg kept Jeffersonville hitless through the fifth inning. In the bottom of the inning, Floyd Central added more to its lead with Sorg hitting a two-out double and moving to third on a balk by Amick. Courtesy runner Caleb Miller scored on a passed ball to Slaughter, and Floyd Central led by four.

The Red Devils finally got on the board in the sixth. With one out, Brett Denby singled and stole second. Max McEwen ripped a second single to score Denby, and Jeffersonville cut its deficit to three.

That, however, didn’t last long as Floyd Central had its biggest at-bat in the bottom of the inning. The Red Devils had two errors that allowed Tripure and Ty Becker on base. Jeffersonville then put Denby on the mound for a pitching change. Tripure immediately scored on a passed ball. With two outs, Goforth blasted a triple, scoring Becker. Sorg followed with a single to score Goforth, and Floyd Central’s lead was 7-1. Jeffersonville went three up and out in the top of the seventh, and the Highlanders piled up on the mound in celebration of a sectional championship.

“It feels great,” said Polk. “It was a goal we set before the season, to win sectionals. We knew we had the team to do it. Between pitching, defense and offense, we had a good chance to go forward. In the three games, we gave up one run and that was today. Between pitching and people stepping up in roles, and sophomores coming in to pitch in big games and shutting down good teams, it’s just been great all the way around.”

Floyd Central had 11 hits for the game with Polk and Sorg getting three hits each and Goforth had two hits. Sorg, who had a no-hitter going through five innings, finished with five strikeouts and two walks. The Highlanders had one error and left six runners on base.

“I wasn’t really focused on the no-hitter,” said Sorg. “That didn’t mean anything to me, but coming in pitching to contacts is my bread and butter for sure. I tried to focus on letting the defense work behind me, which they did.”

Sorg said his supporting cast made the day less stressful on the mound.

“They’ve been great all year,” Sorg said. “I’m always really confident when I step on that mound that my defense will make the plays behind me and come in and get some runs on the board to get some assurance. Everything worked out.”

“It’s really exciting,” he said. “This was one of our goals from the beginning of the season, to come out here and win a sectional championship for our school and our community, and that’s what we did today.”

“This isn’t about any one person,” LaDuke said. “This has been about the team. We’ve had a lot of players make the big defensive plays. We’ve had a lot of pitchers throw the ball well. We’ve had a lot of players get the big hits.”

The Red Devils finished with two hits. Amick and Josh Weiser combined for four strikeouts and two walks. Jeffersonville had one error and left three runners on base.

“There was a little bit more with this game,” Polk said. “There was a little bit more between the teams and more on the table for the win. It’s been a little bit of a rivalry. They got us in conference, and we got them here. It means a little bit more to everybody, and we wanted it more than they did I guess.”

The Highlanders advanced to regional at Jasper.

Jeffersonville           000   001   0 – 1     2   2

Floyd Central           111   013   X – 7   11   1

W-Sorg, L-Amick; 1B-Thompson (FC), Sorg (FC 2, Taylor (FC), Goforth (FC), Polk (FC) 2, Slaughter (FC), McEwen (J), Denby (J), Tripure (FC); 2B-Polk (FC), Sorg (FC); 3B-Goforth (FC).