By Paul Hines
WOODLAWN — Patoka built an early cushion against the Cardinals and hung on for a 5-3 win.
Patoka jumped out to a 4-0 lead after three innings. Johnnie Clift helped Patoka build its advantage with a two-run single to right field.
“On any team it's important but on a good team like Woodlawn if you can get them down, you can take away some of their stuff,” Patoka coach Joe Eddy said. “You can't run as much when you're down because every out is so much more important.”
Woodlawn battled back into the game with three runs in the third to slice the deficit to 4-3. Down 4-0, Joel Robinson reached after a one-out error. Gabe O'Neal followed with a single. Derek Kehrer knocked both runners in with a two-out double to center field. Tanner Hill later plated Kehrer with a single.
“We did battle back, and that tells you something about our team,” Woodlawn coach Mike Kehrer said. “We're not going to lay down on anybody.”
Woodlawn used a trio of pitchers to try to hold down the Patoka offense. Gabe O'Neal started the game and pitched two and a third innings. Jayson Hapeman threw an inning and two thirds with Hill finishing the game on the mound.
Woodlawn had a couple final chances to score against Patoka. In the fourth, Dylan Smith opened the inning with a single and moved to second after a throwing error. The next batter, Hayden Baker, was hit by a pitch. Both moved up a base after a sacrifice bunt off the bat of Jeremiah Lyday. Hapeman followed with an infield groundball, but Smith was cut down at the plate. Joel Robinson ended the inning with an out.
The seventh inning also had a promising start for the Cardinals. Hapeman knocked a single. Robinson followed with a booming shot to the right-center field gap, but Patoka's Shane Cain made a diving catch to rob Robinson of extra bases. Hapeman was racing around second as Cain caught the ball and was out on the double play.
“Nine times out of ten that kid doesn't chase that ball down,” Kehrer said. “I was yelling down all the way. I'm glad our kids were being aggressive and running.”
Clinton Hood pitched a complete game for Patoka.
“He kept them off balance really well,” Eddy said. “In the first half of the game his curveball wasn't there, staying up.
“His curveball started working late in the game, and he started throwing it first pitch.”
Woodlawn dropped to 7-9 this season.