By MATT KOESTERS
SELLERSBURG — The Silver Creek Dragons are the Class 3A Silver Creek Sectional champions after downing Class 3A No. 6 North Harrison in eight innings in the championship game on Monday, 11-10.
Trailing 10-9 heading into the home eighth, the Dragons’ Matt Hawn got plunked by the very first pitch of the inning by reliever Sean Murphy. Hawn got around on a stolen base and a passed ball, and scored on an RBI single by Layne Taylor.
After Taylor got picked off by reliever Derek Harter, Silver Creek’s Lucas Barnett drew a four-pitch walk and moved up to second on a single by Shae Durham. After Jacob Armstrong struck out looking, the Dragons’ Jamie Valvano took a 2-2 pitch up the middle that just barely escaped a diving North Harrison shortstop Collin Book, which allowed Drew Sherrow — running for Barnett — to score and end the game.
In a see-saw game, Silver Creek saw a 3-1 lead turn into a 9-3 deficit. Errors on back-to-back plays in the top of the third led to a five-run North Harrison inning in the third, and a two-run double by Book extended the lead in the following inning.
But the Dragons never stopped battling. Silver Creek plated three runs in the home fourth when Hawn blasted a no-doubter to left field with two on to make it 9-6.
Armstrong scored on a passed ball in the fifth, and Barnett took North Harrison starter Jordan Robbeloth deep for two more runs in the home sixth to bring the score back to even at 9-9.
The Cougars came back in the top of the eighth inning when Harter hit an infield single and was safe at second on a fielder’s choice by Tyler Cockerham. After Mitch Bolin got on board with a fielder’s choice that saw Cockerham out at second, Robbeloth grounded back to Barnett on the mound and got Harter hung up between third and the plate.
A scrum ensued at the bag after Silver Creek catcher Luke McIntyre tagged Harter out and tried to get Bolin out as well, who moved all the way to third from first. McIntyre was ejected after trying to make his way to Bolin, and Creek head coach Joe Decker was shown the door as well.
Barnett got credit for the win, pitching in relief for Silver Creek despite battling with severe cramping in his leg. He battled for three innings and allowed one run on five hits. Barnett also helped his team with a 3-for-4 performance at the plate, including the two-run dinger.
Armstrong homered in the first inning, a three-run blast to straight-away center on a full-count pitch by Robbeloth.
The Dragons advance to the Jasper Regional on Saturday, where they will face Class 3A No. 1 Jasper in the first semifinal at 11 a.m.
• Silver Creek comes back on Corydon: Trailing 7-4 in the home seventh, the Dragons rattled off four runs to stay alive and advance to the sectional championship game on Monday by beating Class 3A No. 8 Corydon, 8-7.
Corydon pitcher Craig Burton opened the inning by hitting Valvano with a pitch before issuing a four-pitch walk to Jared Vest. McIntyre singled in a run, and a single by Brooks Howell juiced the bases.
An out later, Taylor knocked a single to plate two more runs and move Howell to third, and Barnett plated the winning run on a bunt toward the first-base line.
The Dragons trailed 6-2 early in the contest.
• North Harrison run-rules Charlestown: The Cougars scored in each of the first four innings in an 11-1 five-inning victory over Charlestown in the other semifinal game.
Book, Harter and Kyle Jennings each drove in two runs in the contest.
Tregg Scherer took the loss for the Pirates. Scherer hit two doubles in the game, but could not get timely hitting from the rest of the Pirates. Charlestown scattered seven hits in the game.
Charlestown says goodbye to seniors Taylor Pfohl, Bristol Frazier, Ryan Gorbandt and Scherer.
CLASS 3A SILVER CREEK SECTIONAL
N. HARRISON 115 200 01—10 11 2
S. CREEK 300 312 02—11 12 3
W — Barnett. L — Harter. 2B — W. Faith (NH), Book (NH). HR — Armstrong (SC), Book (NH), Barnett (SC).
CORYDON 001 140 1—7 10 5
S. CREEK 001 102 4—8 8 2
W — Durham. L — Burton. 2B — Hawn (SC), McCarty (C), Smith (C).
C’TOWN 001 00–1 7 2
N. HARRISON 234 2x—11 10 1
W — Murphy. L — Scherer. 2B — Scherer 2 (C), Jones (C). 3B — Book (NH).