“We knew we were going for it,” Central sophomore Bryce Travis said. “We are just taking it game-by-game.” Central is set to take on Bowling Green (21-11) in the opening round of the state tournament on Friday at Whitaker Bank Ballpark in Lexington. Game time is set for 8:30 p.m.
The Indians scored three times in the first inning and had a seemingly comfortable 8-1 lead heading into the seventh. They were already planning their post-game celebration.
The Cardinals did fight back. Scott County collected four hits in the seventh inning, including a two-run home run from Ryan Hannabach. Senior pitcher Kyle Goble came on to get the final out and give Central it’s 10th-straight win.
“We knew they wouldn’t go away,” Roof said. “They battled until the end. It’s never over until its over.” The Indians tied to put the Cardinals away early. Four of the first five Central hitters reached base. Logan Thomason walked and Scott Simmons singled. Snapp delivered an RBI single and three batters later Travis beat out an infield single, which allowed two runs to score.
“I thought that was really big,” Snapp said of the fast start. “We know they are a good team. But, we always believed that we would win this game.” Central stretched the lead to 5-0 in the third inning. Snapp ripped a shot to center field that hit high off the wall. “Anywhere else and it would have been out,” Snapp said with a laugh. That ball stayed in the park by inches, but turned into an RBI triple.Moments later, Devin Hukill put down a bunt that scored pinch-runner Jacob Ferris.
“Our guys were ready to play and you could tell,” Roof said. “They had a great gameplan. They were patient and selective at the plate and got some clutch hits.”
Jesse Cox walked and scored on a single by Trey Eden in the fourth inning.
In the seventh, Snapp delivered again. The catcher had an RBI single and Jeremy Cox added a run-scoring hit that pushed the Central lead to seven runs.
“He was lights-out today,” Roof said of Snapp. “He came through for us.” Central’s arms also came up big. Travis had not pitched in almost three weeks, but got the start in the region championship game. He didn’t find out he would be on the mound until right before the game.
“I asked (coach Roof) this morning (who was pitching) and he said he wasn’t sure yet,” Travis said. “They were looking at all the options and had to talk with the rest of the coaches. When we got here, he said, ‘You are getting the ball. Go do what you do.’” Travis had a solid performance.
The sophomore went 2 2/3 innings, allowing two hits, one run and three walks with three strikeouts. The only run he gave up was on a solo homer by Sam Sutton to lead-off the third inning.“I was fine. I’ve had a lot of bullpen sessions since (I last pitched),” Travis said.
Travis was replaced by his older brother, Cameron, in the third inning after he walked three-straight batters. Cameron needed one pitch to get of jam. “I knew I just had to attack the zone and stay focused,” Cameron Travis said. Cameron pitched 3 1/3 innings, allowing four hits, one run and one walk with six strikeouts.
Left-handed sophomore Lucas Myers came on in the seventh. He gave up three hits and four runs, but got two outs.
That set the stage for Goble to close out the win. “We figured we would have to use several guys today,” Roof said of his pitchers. “We really believe in our staff. We have a lot of guys who can get it done. They know their roles and they accept their roles.”
That combined effort allowed the Indians to reach another one of their goals.
Now, they can focus on the next challenge. “This is something they will always remember,” Roof said. “But, there is definitely a bigger goal.”
Jeremy Cox, Myers, Cameron Travis and Snapp were named to the all-tournament team. Thomason was selected as the most valuable player of the 11th Region Tournament.