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South shuts down undefeated Ballard

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Lively, Patterson, Mathis hold Bruins to 3 hits

By Brad Stephens

CRESTWOOD – Ballard came to Bill Cofer Field Thursday having won its first seven games and averaging eight runs per game over its last three.

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South Oldham pitching cooled off those Bruin bats.

Drew Lively, Nate Patterson and Eddie Mathis combined to hold Ballard to just three hits over seven innings, including just one in the first six, as South beat the Bruins 7-2.

The win was the second straight for the No. 16 Dragons (3-1), while the loss was the first of the year for No. 12 Ballard (7-1).

“They’re a good ballclub but we’re better,” said Lively, a senior left-hander. “We feel like we can beat anybody.”

Lively worked out of self-inflicted damage early. He issued two-out walks to Alex Jones and Rick West in the first inning before striking out Jordan Adell looking to end the inning.

South took a 2-0 lead in the bottom of that inning.

Jared Brussell hit a one-out single to left-center off Adell. He stole second, then advanced to third on a passed ball during Braden Sisson’s at-bat. Sisson walked, giving the Dragons runners on the corners with one out.

Brussell then scored to give South a 1-0 lead and Sisson moved to second when Adell uncorked a wild pitch during Drew Greenwood’s at-bat. Greenwood singled, moving Sisson to third.

Sisson came home to make the score 2-0 on an RBI single from Mathis.

Ballard cut the margin to 2-1 in the second when catcher Michael Deleon walked, stole second, advanced to third on a wild pitch and scored on a sacrifice fly hit by Blake Frost.

Lively buckled down, retiring the final three batters he faced in the second, getting the side in order in the third and retiring the leadoff hitter in the fourth.

Ballard handed him another insurance run in the bottom of the third, as Greenwood scored on a Bruin error to make the score 3-1.

“I was a little shaky on the mound the first couple of innings,” Lively said. “But we settled down a little bit and offensively we provided plenty of runs and we just poured it on them.”

A web gem from Mathis in right field highlighted the top of the third. The senior made a diving catch going toward right-center to rob Jones of a two-out extra base hit and end the inning.

“I thought Eddie Mathis played really well in right field,” assistant coach David Watkins said. “The diving catch was huge for us early. That gives us momentum.”

­Lively surrendered the Bruins’ first hit of the game with one out in the top of the fourth, giving up a one-out double to Adell.

Co-head coach Todd Driscoll brought right-hander Nate Patterson out of the bullpen to replace Lively.

Patterson induced a groundout from Deleon but then walked Michael Dwyer and Frost to load the bases with two outs. He got out of the jam by getting Tyler Klondike to ground out to third, ending the inning.

South then broke the game open in the bottom of the fourth, scoring four runs to make the Dragon lead 7-1.

Greenwood drove home Blake Bisig and Sisson with a two-RBI triple for the first two of those runs. Drew Ellis sent Greenwood home with an RBI single to make the score 6-1.

“Greenwood swung the bat really well and Ellis swung it good behind him,” Watkins said. “…We took advantage of their mistakes. They kicked a couple and we took advantage of that.”

Ellis scored South’s fourth run of the inning on a Noah Frantz RBI infield single, making the score 7-1.

Patterson pitched a scoreless fifth. Mathis came on in relief, pitching a 1-2-3 sixth inning. He gave up two hits and one run in the seventh, but the outcome was never in doubt.

South gets another top 25 team, No. 19 Trinity, at home at 6 p.m. Friday. The way the Dragons played Thursday can carry over against the Shamrocks and against other future opponents, Mathis said.

“We just need to keep being loose out there,” Mathis said, “keep swinging the bats, keep putting balls in the strike zone and keep playing hard.”

 

Ballard (7-1)                        0 1 0   0 0 0   1 – 2 3 3

South Oldham (3-1)            2 0 1   4 0 0   x – 7 8 0