Isaac Smith didn’t hesitate when presented with an opportunity to deliver a gutsy, game-changing play. The senior stole home in the fifth inning Monday against #25 Woodford County in the opening round of the 11th Region Tournament at Whitaker Bank Ballpark.
That run turned out to be the game winner as the third-ranked Indians (30-4) picked up a 2-1 win and setup a semifinal showdown with top-ranked Lexington Catholic. “(Coach Steve) Roof said something about a high leg kick, and then the (Woodford pitcher) smiled over at me,” Smith said. “So, I was going. I just ran, I figured I could get there.” Smith slid into home untouched, beating the throw from Woodford County pitcher Clinton Hollon to the plate. “That was all Isaac Smith,” Central coach Steve Roof said. “He had the green light. That was just all Isaac Smith.” Central’s Dusty Ridner and Hollon locked up in a pitcher’s duel for most of the game. Woodford got on the board first when Hollon singled and scored in the third. Central tied the game in the bottom of the inning. Caleb Epperson, a catcher/designated hitter singled, then came all the way around from first on a triple to left field by Alex Dapkus. “That’s the fastest I’ve ever seen him run,” Smith said of Epperson. Smith started the game-winning rally with a single to left in the fifth. He moved to second when the outfielder misplayed the ball. After stealing third, he stole a win for the Indians. Ridner 5 1/3 innings and allowed three hits. Logan Smith came on and worked the final 1 2/3 innings, allowing only one hit. “I thought Dusty was outstanding,” Roof said. “It was a great pitcher’s matchup. That’s what you expect in the 11th Region.” In the seventh, Woodford got a lead-off single and a walk, but a strikeout and double play ended the game. Central will take on #1 Catholic at 7:30 p.m. today at Whitaker Bank Ballpark. The two teams have met just once this season, with the Indians picking up a 4-3 win April 18 in Richmond. Nathan Hutchinson, Richmond Register (5/31/11)