Rebels come back from 6-0 down to beat Southwestern

Published 7:40 am Wednesday, May 30, 2018

NICHOLASVILLE — Boyle County flexed its comeback muscles Tuesday at East Jessamine.

The Rebels scored nine unanswered runs to beat Southwestern 9-6 in the 12th Region quarterfinals, advancing to play Pulaski County in the semifinals.

It wasn’t an ideal start for the Rebels: Starting pitcher Sam Tiller was in his first game action in weeks due to injury. He gave up six runs (four earned) in just 3.1 innings of work.

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Boyle had two errors aid Southwestern in the first four innings, but Tiller worked through trouble to limit damage — the Warriors finished with nine runners left on base.

After the fourth inning, Wynn said he saw his seniors take over.

“That’s grit, right there, from our guys. A couple of seniors came in there after their big inning and basically said ‘we’re not losing this ball game,’” the Boyle coach said. “I could tell that we weren’t going to quit.”

After four innings, Southwestern led 6-0.

In the top of the fifth inning, things changed. And it started at the bottom of the order.

Cameron Yates legged out an infield single and scored on a single from Grant Hotchkiss.

The bit of momentum provided by one run changed the outlook of the Boyle dugout.

“We got momentum going that way, and when a team has a lead, it puts them on their heels,” Wynn said. “We just kept gaining momentum from that point forward.”

Hotchkiss would score on a wild pitch, then Hunter Mason, Ty Dragan and Alex Sergent all reached base, setting the stage for Tristen Helton.

Helton delivered a two-RBI double to cut Southwestern’s lead to 6-4. He’d be brought home with Sergent on a two-RBI double by Karson Thompson to tie the game at 6-6.

After that, Hotchkiss was lights out on the mound.

The sophomore pitched the final 3.2 innings, giving up just four hits while striking out six batters.

“Sam battled, he’s a senior and he’s putting it on the line for us,” Wynn said. “He did a nice job keeping us in the ball game. Grant came in there and just shut them down, and that’s what we needed till the last inning to let our offense work.”

And the Boyle offense put in work.

After a scoreless sixth inning, the Rebels plated three runs in the final frame.

Dragan scored from second base on a bunt from Sergent — the bunt was perfectly placed down the third base line, and the throw was wide at first. Sergent and Helton would score again on a two-RBI double by Thompson to make it 9-6.

“If you’re relying on the meat of your order this time of year, it’s just not going to happen,” Wynn said. “The pitching is too good, you’ve got to have a good effort 1-through-9 in the lineup. Those guys at the bottom got it going and turned the lineup over and we took off from there.”

Wynn said he didn’t doubt his team, even being down six runs midway through the game.

“We’ve had a couple games this year, particularly the game against Campbell County. We got down almost 11 runs and came back and won,” he said. “From that point forward, we’ve never doubted ourselves. Six runs in a region game is hard to come back from, but we learned something this season. You can never quit this time of year, you just never know what is going to happen. Hats off to our guys, I’m proud of them for never quitting, keeping us alive.”

The Rebels will play Pulaski County — winners against East Jessamine 4-2 — in the region semifinals. That game is scheduled to be played today at 5:30 p.m. at West Jessamine.