DAYTON — Carroll grabbed an early one-run lead, then brought out the big bats in the third, to pull away to Thursday’s 8-2 win over Lewistown Indian Lake.
Clean-up hitter Tony Quatman has been on a hitting tear of late. He collected three hits, including a home run, and drove in four Patriots runs in the win over the Lakers.
“He’s been either that good or better, lately for us,” Carroll coach Mike Sheets said. “In our last game of the season (a 12-2 win at Cincinnati Purcell Marian) he went 4-for-4 with five RBIs. Then in our first tournament game, he was 3-for-3 (in a 12-0 win over Springfield Northwestern).”
Baylen Shoemaker scored Carroll’s first run of the game in the opening inning of play. Shoemaker doubled to left, then advanced to third on Tyler Seymour’s groundout. Quatman then drove Shoemaker in with a single into right field.
When Quatman next came up in the third inning, he tagged Indian Lake for a two-run home run over the left-field fence, scoring himself and Zach Uzzel. After successive walks to Dalton Frederico and Jordan Flynn, Carroll’s Xander Smart bashed a Lakers pitch over the same left-field wall for a three-run dinger.
“I’ve just really gone back to basics with my swing,” Quatman explained. “I’m doing what the coaches tell me. I’m shortening up my grip, staying relaxed, keeping loose hands and letting the ball do its own thing.”
Smart said it’s a lot easier to pitch with a lead in your back pocket.
“I think we’re hitting the right stride at the right time of the season,” he said. “… And when the team gives me an early lead, I know that all I have to do is throw strikes, and that they’ll play solid defense behind me. It helps to have a lot of confidence in my team’s defense, too.”
Seymour and Uzzel drew back-to-back walks in the fourth inning, and Carroll’s Quatman capitalized on the scoring opportunity once again. This time, Quatman brought home Seymour with a line drive into left field. Three batters later, Jordan Flynn scored Uzzel on a fielder’s choice.
Indian Lake’s Isaac Miller finally solved Xander Smart’s pitching in the sixth. That’s when Miller bashed a two-run home run over the 338-foot mark in left-centerfield to score himself and Lakers teammate Brennon Lump in the top of the sixth inning.
Carroll reliever Doug Adams came in and struck out the next two Laker batters in the sixth to end that threat. Adams then closed out the game with a foul territory fly ball to Seymour and two more strikeouts in the seventh.
“Xander gave a very gutsy effort for us on the mound tonight,” Sheets said. “I could have probably left him in there (after Miller’s home run), but he was getting close to 100 pitches thrown. Besides, I knew that I still had Doug Adams to throw at them.”
Carroll (17-11) will next face top-seeded Tipp City Tippecanoe at 5 p.m., May 22 at New Carlisle’s Tecumseh High School.
Sheets said he’s like to try and maintain Carroll’s momentum during the lull. He’s looking to find an area school to play a ballgame against the Pats during one of the six days between now and then.
“We need to keep up this momentum and the team’s enthusiasm,” he said. “We’re playing really well right now.”