Titans take down Southwestern, 14-4

Published 10:00 am Friday, May 4, 2018


Contributing Writer

HARRODSBURG — Going against the region’s third ranked offense and a team averaging over eight runs a game, Mercer County knew its bats had to be sharp against Southwestern Thursday night.

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It didn’t take long for the Titans to prove just how sharp they were.

After a scoreless top of the first, Mercer County got to work quickly in the bottom half of the frame. Cameron Warren and Noah Irvin both walked – Irvin’s walk was the 100th on the season for the Titans in only their 17th game – and Jamason Sherrow was hit by a pitch to load the bases with one out.

After a strikeout, the Titans were just one out away from squandering an early bases loaded opportunity. It took two pitches to Andrew McGinnis to calm those fears.

McGinnis laced a single to left field, scoring both Warren and Irvin to give Mercer County a 2-0 lead. The Titans didn’t stop there.

On the very next pitch, Dillon Warren roped a single to center, scoring Sherrow and McGinnis. One batter later, Luke McGinnis’ hard ground ball was booted by the Southwestern infield, scoring Dillon Warren to give Mercer County a five spot in the bottom half of the first.

“That’s our game,” Mercer County head coach Adam Shartzer said. “We want to get ahead and stay ahead. Hunter (Kelly) came out there and pitched with the lead and went out there and did exactly what he was supposed to.”

Kelly threw strikes but ran into a jam in the top of the second when he, along with the aid of a Mercer County error, loaded the bases.

Southwestern scored its first run on a bases loaded walk to make it 5-1 with only one out when Sherrow showed just how powerful of a right arm he has in right field.

With the bases loaded and one out, Southwestern shortstop Tanner McKee hit a fly ball to straight away right which Sherrow caught then delivered a dart to home plate to throw out Southwestern’s Jeffrey Madden who tried to tag from third and score on a sacrifice fly.

Sherrow’s play not only ended the threat but also ended the top of the second, leaving Southwestern with only one run on the board despite having the bases loaded and one out.

“He’s (Sherrow) a big strong kid,” Shartzer said. “He’s going to try and make that throw everytime and give you 110 percent.”

With Mercer holding on to a 5-1 lead going into the second, more runs came pouring in for the Titans. Andrew McGinnis doubled driving in Cameron Warren and Irvin who both walked earlier. It was McGinnis’ second two RBI hit in as many innings.

Dillon Warren followed McGinnis with his second RBI hit in as many innings as well, this one a single to center which scored Mason Smith to make it 8-1 Mercer.

Kelly held Southwestern scoreless in the third and let his offense again put on a show in the bottom half of the frame.

Mercer County loaded the bases for the third straight inning and saw three more runs cross – one on a Sherrow RBI groundout and two more on a Smith single to center. By that point it was an 11-1 Mercer County lead as the Titans continued to cruise through Southwestern pitching and Kelly set down Southwestern hitters.

Mercer County led 11-1 going into the fifth, just a mere three outs away from a 10 run rule but walks came back to bite the Titans – albeit, ever so briefly.

The Warriors loaded the bases with nobody out in the top of the fifth, scored a run on a sacrifice fly to make it 11-2, then Madden deposited a double to left center scoring two more to make it 11-4. The next batter was hit by a pitch which ended Kelly’s night on the mound one out shy of finishing the fifth.

Shartzer summoned left fielder Dillon Warren to polish off Southwestern’s final batter of the fifth, which he did, to end the threat.

The three runs gave the Warriors brief hope and extended the game past the 10-run rule. That, however, would be short lived.

Two pitches into the bottom half, Mercer County’s Hunter Armstrong tomohawked a fastball to straight away center field for the games first, and only, homerun to make it 12-4.

The Titans would, again, load the bases with back-to-back singles by Cameron Warren and Irvin and a Sherrow hit by pitch and they would, again, make it count.

Austin McGinnis drove in his fifth run of the game with an RBI walk to make it 13-4 and then Dillon Warren ended the game and a perfect night at the plate with a single to center, scoring Sherrow and putting Southwestern away 14-4 in a ten run rule win.

“The pitches were there,” said Dillon Warren, who went 4/4 at the plate with four singles and drove in four runs. “I was just connecting with it today and I felt good in the (batting) cage earlier today. It just felt great today.”

Warren’s teammate, Austin McGinnis, went 2/3 with a double and five RBI meaning the Titans’ six and seven hole hitters went a combined 6/7 with two runs and nine RBI. Shartzer said it’s the type of performance they have come to expect from their lineup.

“The top of our lineup, those guys, they got on and we have all the confidence in the world that they can get them in. They come in, they do their job and we are going to try to find any way we can to score runs.”
On the mound, Kelly got the win, going 4.2 innings, surrendering five hits, giving up four runs, four walks and a strikeout.

The win not only gave Mercer County a win, but a win over a previous 15-3 Southwestern squad that had gone 15-1 against other Kentucky teams this year.

“It’s a big confidence builder. We needed a big win like this,” Shartzer said. “We needed a big win and luckily the ball bounced to our side today.”

“They’re a good team. Today was just our day and hopefully we get to see them again in the region tournament in a few weeks,” Shartzer said.