By Mike Myers Times Herald
The Washington Times-Herald
---- — HUNTINGBURG — Washington’s dream of a sectional championship came to a end at the hands of Luke Stetter and the Southridge Raiders 12-0 at League Stadium on Tuesday.
After stormy weather threatened the delay the Sectional 31 title game yet another night, Washington (12-17) and Southridge (20-4) were able to get the game in, but the post-season charm that had propelled the Hatchets past Mitchell and Vincennes Lincoln disappeared with the passing rain clouds. The Raiders struck early, reaching Hatchet starter and loser Jake Bedwell for a run in the first and two more in the third. Bedwell would eventually depart after surrendering three hits and two more runs in the fifth in favor of Michael Ramsey.
The Hatchets would threaten just twice against Stetter, the younger brother of former Major League pitcher Mitch Stetter.
Stetter finished with nine strikeouts while allowing just two hits and walking one in a complete game performance. In the process Stetter retired the final 11 Hatchets to step to the plate.
“Stetter was on, he got ahead in the count, I think after five innings he was at 57 pitches,” said Washington coach Steve Reed.
“We tried to work him, but he just kept throwing first pitch strikes, and he just had us eating out of his hand after that. You have to tip your hat to Stetter, he was a man on mission tonight.”
Washington got runners on base against Stetter in just two innings. Colten Garland singled and stole second with one out in the Hatchet first but was stranded there as Stetter began a string of eight straight Hatchets he would set down.
Washington reached Stetter for a pair of baseruners in the fourth as Austin Moody drew a one-out walk, followed by shot to leftfield for a single off the bat of Bedwell.
Moody and Bedwell then pulled of a double steal with Nick Gray at the plate. But Stetter rebounded, fanning Gray, then inducing Zach Scheid to ground back to the mound to end the scoring threat.
Southridge added a pair of runs against Ramsey in the sixth, then plated five runs against Moody in the seventh before freshman Benjamin Lambert came on to record the final two outs of the frame. Overall the Raiders finished with 13 hits and took advantage of three Hatchet errors. Connor Craig and Brett Nordhoff paced the Raider attack with three hits apiece.
Though disappointed in the outcome, Reed was far from depressed after the game and the strong sectional showing.
“We made the championship game, that’s something to be proud of. I know a lot of people back home were rallying behind us,” said Reed. “The boys this year showed a lot of fight. Our season didn’t turn out the way we wanted, but about the midway point you could see it turning around. About the invitational we started playing a lot better.”
Following the game Reed praised his two seniors, Dalton Devine and Eric Long.
“I want to thank Eric and Dalton for their commitment to the team, they did a very good job of leading the team. I think Dalton led us in batting average this year. He didn’t play a whole lot as a junior last year, he did a great job in that leadoff hole for us. He will be sorely missed,” said Reed. “And Eric Long played a nice first base for us and had some timely hits for us. I just appreciate their dedication. Losing seniors is always the hardest part of a night like tonight.”
On the other, Reed returns a talented group for next season that will be buoyed by its post-season success this season.
“There’s nothing to be ashamed of, I’m proud of these guys,” said Reed. “They’ve got the town excited about baseball, there’s no doubt about that. We definitely have something to look forward to next year.”