Senior staff writer
Perry Meridian’s Jesse Wainscott and Southport’s A.J. Short locked together April 17 in a duel that added another chapter to the baseball Battle of Perry Township.
The Falcons prevailed 1-0 in a true pitchers’ duel as Bryce Garrity drove the ball over the glove of Southport second baseman Dustin Church and sent home Luke Arkins in the fifth.
Wainscott (3-1) allowed only three hits. Southport (4-5) left six runners stranded in the first five innings; Perry Meridian (7-4) left seven on base.
“It was tense; every pitch and every runner on base counted,” Perry Meridian catcher Elliott Obermeier said.
Falcons coach Jack Carpenter added, “Any run was a premium.”
Garrity was the fourth batter Smith faced in the fifth. Smith held Perry Meridian to only one run with the bases loaded on a force-out at the plate and a strike out.
“We had the bases loaded with no outs and thought we could get three runs,” Carpenter said. “We had our share of strike outs but we were able to put the ball in play. We knew he (Short) and Jesse would go toe to toe.”
Wainscott would have liked a few more runs too. “As a pitcher, you take what you can get, but everything worked out; we won,” said Wainscott, who closed the game by striking out the side in the seventh. “I felt a little bit of pressure, but I like pressure. I knew I had to go out there and just do my thing.”
Garrity re-emphasized the closeness of the game and said, “When I was up then, I’m a senior so I knew I had to be the leader, had to get a hit or at least put the ball in play.”
The Falcons won their third straight game and moved into the championship bracket of the upcoming Conference Indiana tourney.
Southport senior Joey Lemons had two of Southport’s three hits. The Cards put a runner on base in the first three innings and left runners on first and second in the fifth.
“We’re just not getting the job done when we have runners on base and in scoring position,” Whitlock said. “We had opportunities to get an early lead. This was good baseball – both pitchers battled and had good command. A.J. got us out of a couple to jams too.”