Skipping dinner to go out and play isn’t always the best idea, but it was the icing on the cake for the Rising Sun Shiner baseball team on Wednesday, June 3rd.
Four Rising Sun members of the Ohio River Valley Conference all-conference team had to forego being honored at a buffet dinner at the Pines Restaurant in Madison. Instead they were down the road at Shawe Memorial High School - where they playing for a Class A Sectional 60 baseball championship.
The Shiner hunger for title instead of racing to get to the ice cream before it melts proved rewarding, as they posted a 6-2 win over ORVC rival Jac-Cen-Del to win Rising Sun’s fourth sectional in years and fifth overall under head coach Kevin Wirsch.
Austin Armstrong (one of the four all-conference players) went 0-for-4 at home plate but was a master on the mound in the complete game win. Armstrong made good use of his pitches with 62 of 88 going as strikes.
The Shiner defense made a few miscues – but nothing the 2015 ORVC champions couldn’t overcome.
A first inning JCD single saw Shiner Kurtis Armstrong get the runner trying to go for two.
However, the first of four Shiner errors put opposing pitcher Tyler Huff onboard and eventually scoring on an RBI by Maverick Dwenger.
But that would be the only run for Coach David Bradshaw’s Eagles until the final at bat.
JCD had its chances in the early going but Armstrong came up big, ending each of the first three innings with one of his three strikeouts on the night.
Rising Sun (13-3 and 5-2 winners over JCD in the regular season) got on the board with a leadoff single by Brent Turner in the third. Mitchell Morris (winner of the Shiners’ sectional opener against Hauser) reached after Turner was forced at second.
The lanky first baseman/all-conference performer stole second base then tied the score after dining partner Bryant Housemyer singled.
Senior leadoff Jake Uhlmansiek beat out an infield single with the speedy Housemyer scoring on the play.
Uhlmansiek and the aggressive Shiner running game continued (seven stolen bases) putting pressure on the defense resulting in Uhlmansiek scoring on a wild pitch.
The Shiners kept that 3-1 lead until the sixth when catcher Brady Murray (the fourth all-conference member) reached on an error. Tristan Brown (scoring the winning run in the bottom of the seventh a night earlier) came in and stole two bases. After a walk to pinch hitter Levi Purvis, Kurtis Armstrong put down a suicide squeeze bunt to score Brown. Derrick Eldridge reentered for Purvis, stole second then scored as Armstrong reached safely.
Jacob Sandlin walked and stole second but was held at third on a hard hit single by Turner. He scored the final Shiner run on an RBI single by Morris.
JCD’s Dwenger doubled off the glove of a diving Uhlmansiek to open the seventh. He scored after a pair of long fly balls. But Rising Sun shortstop Tyler Camden made a sure fielding play and throw to Morris for the final out.
It’s often said it’s hard to beat a team three times. Rising Sun and Armstrong defeated JCD and Huff in final ORVC game to win its fourth ORVC title in five years and completed the sweep in the final tourney game to advance to the regional.
The Shiners went quietly home into the night as they returned to an all-out (but quiet) caravan of fans and emergency vehicles – a Shiner tradition.