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TAYLORSVILLE – Landon Case was a bit under the weather but he made Spencer County’s bats sick.
The junior right-hander went the distance, scattering five hits in a 6-2 win last Tuesday. The victory guaranteed Anderson can do no worse than a two-seed in the 30th District Tournament next month. Case dominated Spencer, getting his fourth win in five decisions.
And he was not 100 percent.
“I started feeling bad yesterday,” Case said of what was called a stomach virus.
He could have fooled anyone who did not know, striking out seven and walking two. Case only set Spencer down in order in the second and fifth innings but other than a rough third when he gave up a run and stranded two runners, one at third, Case was never in serious trouble.
Anderson is now 3-0 and clinched, at worst, the second seed in the 30th District Tournament next month. A contest at Collins on May 6 is all that is left on Anderson's district schedule.
“Landon gave a very gutsy performance,” said Anderson coach L.W. Barnes. “He appeared gassed during the first inning, but he fought through it and hung in there. You could tell that Spencer was sitting on the fast ball, especially the first pitch fastball.”
Spencer did reach Case for a seventh-inning run with two out, but by that time, things were well in hand. “Both my fastball and curve ball were working really well,” Case said.
“Once he starting using his curve ball and began working ahead in the count, he was very effective,” Barnes said. “It was a great performance, and much needed.”
Case threw 99 pitches, with 67 going for strikes or being put in play. “I had to move (my mitt) every now and then,” grinned catcher Travis Phillips.
But Case was far from the only story.
Anderson jumped on Spencer, small-balling its way to a first-inning run when Logan Woodside walked, then came home on Michael Harley’s one-out grounder to short. The key play, however, came when Clay Guffey sacrificed Woodside to second. Catching Spencer napping with no one covering third, Woodside raced to the bag, setting up Harley’s RBI.
“We felt it very important to get a good start, and manufacturing that early run was a great boost,” Barnes said. “Woodside made a very heady play making it to third on Guffey's good sacrifice bunt.”
The Bearcats broke things open on Spencer starter Tanner Boatright in the third. Anderson scored four times, three unearned. Woodside led off with an infield hit, then after Spencer third baseman Michael Vuick threw Clay Guffey’s sacrifice into the right-field foul area, Harley brought Woodside in with another ground out.
“The third inning was nice. We kept putting the ball in play, and when they did make mistakes our baserunners took advantage,” Barnes said.
After Case reached on an error and Phillips was hit by a pitch, Cole Sayre ripped a two-run single that effectively put things away. Sayre, who had two hits, also doubled to lead off the sixth and came home on Woodside’s sacrifice fly.
“We were confident, the way Landon was pitching,” Sayre said. But in the seventh, Case, who was nearing his 100-pitch limit, saw Spencer’s Jordan Johnson reach when Case uncorked a wild pitch on a third strike. Vuick followed with a single but pinch-hitter Lance Shelton hit into a 5-4-3 double play.
Johnson eventually scored but the Bears never seriously threatened.
If there was a downside, it was the fact that Anderson only picked up five hits on the night. “We struggled against the slower pitcher. I expect better adjustments from our players, but last night they never made the adjustment to begin their pre-swing movements later and to make sure to stay back and let the ball travel,” Barnes said. “We continually reached after the ball. That was disappointing, especially after 10-plus hits the night before vs. Washington County.”
Anderson, now 7-8 after starting the season 0-5, is off until Friday when the Bearcats play the first of four games in two days in the Capital City Classic at Franklin County and Western Hills.
“I just know we have three very tough games,” Barnes said. “Christian Academy (of Louisville), Ryle, and Mercer are all top notch.
“Case will probably not be available on the mound, so some others will have to take the hill. We have a tough three games for us, but we'll see how far we've grown and if we have improved this weekend.”
The first three games determine the opponent for the final game on Saturday afternoon.
Anderson 8, Washington Co. 3
Anderson rolled to an 8-3 win over Washington County Monday. Junior right-hander Steven Watts turned in what Coach L.W. Barnes termed "by far the best performance of his career," going six innings and giving up one unearned run.
Sophomore Logan Woodside went 3-for-4, blasting his fourth home run of the year and smacking a pair of doubles. Senior Alex Sparrow also had a pair of hits for the Bearcats.