RICHMOND — Madison Southern's baseball team, which lost its first 10 games of the season, and was 3-26 in early May, stunned Bryan Station 4-1 in eight innings in the opening game of the 11th Region tournament at Madison Central on Monday.
"It's incredible," Madison Southern first-year coach Dustin Hon said after the Eagles' first regional victory in 15 years. "These guys' mental toughness has improved 10-fold since the beginning of the season, and they've figured out what to do to win."
With the score tied 1-1 in the bottom of the seventh, Bryan Station loaded the bases with one out. Jacob Moore ripped a line drive up the middle, but second baseman Kendan Angel made a diving catch, then doubled up the runner at second.
Madison Southern pushed across three runs in the top of the eighth. Lucas Reynolds doubled with one out. Angel and Devin Vanover were hit by pitches to load the bases.
Griffen Norris and John David Meeks drew bases-loaded walks to force in two runs, and a Bryan Station error allowed another score.
Norris, a sophomore right-hander, pitched seven innings, gave up five hits, struck out four and walked two.
Freshman Easten Shouse closed it in the eighth.
"(Norris) was fantastic," Hon said. "He's been strong all year, but we haven't given him a lot of run support."
Norris said the Eagles never gave up hope during their early season struggles.
"We got that bond, and started fighting together and became a team," he said. "We've been on a roll (five wins in their last seven games), and we're loving it."
Bryan Station Coach Eddie Brooks didn't make any excuses.
"Madison Southern came out, battled. scrapped and competed every pitch," he said. "Their pitcher did a tremendous job. We just couldn't get anything going."
Tates Creek 12, Franklin County 3: The Commodores rolled to their 17th victory in a row behind the complete-game pitching of Tanner Hart and a productive offense.
Hart, a junior right-hander, improved to 4-0 on the year by scattering seven hits, striking out three and walking two.
He got plenty of run support, with lead-off man Devin Hairston providing the spark. The junior shortstop had three hits, including a two-run double, and two runs.
Luke Rouse (two hits, two runs), JaVon Shelby (one hit, two RBI, three runs), Blake Rose (two-run single) and Jeffrey Chapuran (two-run single) also contributed as Tates Creek matched its season high in scoring.
Shelby, a senior center fielder who's headed to Kentucky, said the Commodores "are hungry and focused.
"Everything's working for us right now — pitching, hitting, defense. We're on a long winning streak, and we want to keep it going until the state championship game."
Scott County 11, Madison Central 3: Scott County got nine runs in the first three innings, six of them unearned because of Madison Central errors. Scott Willard's Cardinals didn't mind how they scored, though. They were happy to get a jump start on the way to the region semifinals.
Matt Gregory, a junior left-hander, earned the win for the Cardinals. He overcame a shaky start to go the distance. He gave up nine hits, struck out six and walked three to improve to 6-1 this season.
Gregory delivered in the clutch in the fourth. After Madison Central loaded the bases with no out, he struck out the next three batters.
Gregory also had a good night at the plate. He had two hits, walked twice, knocked in a run and scored three times.
Cards lead-off man Austin Downey tripled, reached twice on error and scored three times.
Scott County took a 5-0 lead in the first, with three runs coming home on two outs on a Madison Central throwing error. Madison Central answered in the bottom of the first with Jonah Kelsey's two-run single.
But the Indians didn't stay close for long.
Scott County put up a four-spot in the third. Bo Saunders had an RBI, but only after a couple of Madison Central errors led to three runs.
Madison Central Coach Steve Roof missed most of the action. He was ejected in the bottom of the first for protesting an interference call on one of his base runners.
Madison Southern 4, Bryan Station 1
Madison Southern 000 001 03—4 3 4
Bryan Station 001 000 00—1 5 2
Griffen Norris, Easton Shouse (8) and Lane Owen. Trae Mosely, Nick Hodges (8) and Jordan Lewis. 2B—Jacob Moore (BS), Lucas Reynolds (MS).
Records: Madison So. 8-28; Bryan Station 15-19.
Tates Creek 12, Franklin Co. 3
Franklin County 100 101 1—3 7 3
Tates Creek 220 521 x—12 11 2
Nick Cumpston, David Current (3), Brandon Smither (5) and Rich Kemper. Tanner Hart and Nathan Black. 2B—Devin Hairston (TC), Alex McKinney (FC). 3B—Nick Richmond (TC), Jordan Fucci (TC).
Records: Franklin Co. 15-24 Tates Creek 31-6.
Scott County 11, Madison Central 3
Scott County 504 001 1—11 10 0
Madison Central 200 000 1—3 9 3
Matt Gregory and Alden Gruchow. Kyle Kelsey, Austin Templeton (2), Jeremy Lakes (4), Zach Voll (7), Kirt Caldwell (7) and Jimmy Wright. 2B—Gregory (SC), Ben Morin (MC), Chase Martin (SC). 3B—Austin Downey (SC)
Records: Scott Co. 22-13-1; Madison Central 22-13.
Mike Fields: (859) 231-3337. Twitter: @MikeFieldsNotes. Blog: fieldsnotes.bloginky.com.