PDT Sports Contributor
NEW BOSTON – When the ace of a pitching staff has his best stuff, it is hard for any team to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.
Brady Johnson certainly represented the definition of the “ace” well for Peebles as the Indians fell to the Tigers by an 8-2 tally in a Division IV Sectional Semifinal matchup, with Johnson throwing a complete game and only giving up four hits while striking out 10.
However, Jim Bailey was happy with his team’s effort and improvement and said that the baseball program (which just finished its third season back after not existing for a few years) is happy to be competing in the postseason.
“(Johnson) is one of, if not the, best pitcher we’ve faced all season long,” Bailey said. “He was throwing a lot of strikes, but I am really proud of our guys for making an effort to put the ball in play and make some plays (in the field).”
Bailey said that he was proud of his seniors (Jordan Moore, Nate Payton, Billy Nichols, Jacob Slack, and James Spicer) for fighting throughout the game and for working hard for the program.
“I’m really proud of the seniors,” Bailey said. “This is our third year back after not having the program for a few years, and they’ve really put a spark into this program and have really brought this program back.”
“… Without our five seniors, we wouldn’t have a baseball team. This senior class is responsible for bringing the baseball program back, from being young guys interested in playing as sophomores. I just wish that I could’ve had them for four years, but Jordan and Nate, especially as pitchers, really gave us a chance to win games.”
The first inning started out quietly for both teams, but Peebles answered with a bang in the top half of the second as Tyler Fenner came home on a Lane Hanson single. Hanson and John Penn were then brought home via a Clay Brown single as Peebles grabbed a 3-0 lead early.
The Indians would strike again in the top half of the third as Johnson smashed a double into left field to lead off the inning. Fenner would then bring Johnson home with a single into right center field, and Hanson brought Fenner in with a single of his own to cap off the scoring for the inning as Peebles took a 5-0 lead after three innings.
New Boston would strike in the bottom half of the fourth as Moore led off the inning with a double and was brought home on a double by Nichols. The Tigers would then load the bases after Issac Erks was walked, but could not capitalize as Johnson struck out Spicer as the Indians averted further damage.
Peebles would get a run back in the top half of the fifth after Johnson, who got on base via the walk, would score off of Penn’s single. The Tigers, however, would prevent further damage from occurring as Moore would strike out Brennan Sims with the bases loaded to retire the side.
New Boston answer with a run of its own off of a Tyler Shonkwiler single, but failed to pounce with the bases loaded for the second time in the contest as Slack hit into an unassisted force out at second base.
Penn and Hanson added two more runs in the seventh for Peebles to increase the score to the final 8-2 tally.
With the win, Peebles will advance to play Leesburg Fairfield at Fairfield in a Division IV Sectional Final matchup. New Boston finished its season with a 4-14 overall mark.
Peebles 032 010 2 – 8 12 1
New Boston 000 101 0 – 2 4 2
Peebles – Johnson 1-3 (2B, BB, 2 R), Fenner 3-4 (2 R, RBI), Penn 3-4 (2 R, RBI), Hanson 2-4 (2B, 2 R, 2 RBI), C. Brown 2-4 (2 RBI), Simms 1-2.
New Boston – Slack 1-4, Steele 1-2 (BB), Moore 2-4 (R), Nichols 2-4 (2 2B, RBI, R), Shonkwiler 1-3, Erks 0-1 (BB), Spicer 1-3 (RBI), Poole 2-3.
W – Johnson (CG, 10 K, 4 H, 2 ER, 2 BB)
L – Moore (CG, 9 K, 12 H, 8 R, 6 ER, 2 BB)
Records – Peebles 4-7, New Boston 4-14.