You might think Madison Central has Ballard’s number in athletics this school year, but Indians baseball coach Steve Roof and his players weren’t thinking that after their 3-1 victory over the host Bruins in Louisville Invitational Tournament action Thursday night.
With Jimmy Wright and Ben Fisher hitting home runs in the fourth inning, unranked Madison Central (11-6) erased a 1-0 deficit and went on to beat Ballard (15-8), which is No. 25 in the state coaches’ poll.
In the state championship basketball game on March 10, the Indians rallied from a 16-point deficit to nip Ballard 65-64 in Rupp Arena. No one seemed focused on that Thursday night until asked.
“This game had no relation to the basketball game,” Roof said. “It’s totally different. We have two Division I hitters in Wright and Fisher. Wright is going to Morehead State and Fisher to Eastern Kentucky. They both have nice swings. They’ve carried us all year.”
Wright tied the score by leading off the fourth with a poke over the right-field fence. After Ben Morin singled, Fisher hit a two-run shot over the fence in right-center for a 3-1 lead.
Wright’s homer was his fifth this season, Fisher’s his first. Both bat left-handed, and losing pitcher Adam Boone said both hit change-ups.
“I saw the pitch and reacted,” Wright said. “I thought I got out in front of the ball, but it felt good off the bat. I never thought of the basketball game until afterwards.”
Fisher wasn’t trying to hit a home run.
“I tried to drive it up the middle,” he said. “I thought it might be (a home run), but I wasn’t sure it was high enough. It’s always fun when two good teams go at it.”
Sophomore righty Jeremy Lakes (5-0) pitched 51/3 innings to get the victory.
Ballard went ahead 1-0 in the second when Nick Nonos doubled and scored on Alex Jones’ single. Nick Jackson walked and Travis Kelley singled to start the third, and Ricky West’s sacrifice moved them to third and second, but Lakes retired the next two batters on two pitches.
Nonos doubled again to open the fourth, but Lakes picked him off. In the sixth, Ballard’s Trevor Putzig singled and Nonos walked, but pinch-hitter Travis Welton grounded into a double play.
“We got ourselves in position to put pressure on them, but we never got the timely hit we needed,” Ballard coach David Trager said. “Adam did a great job keeping us in the game. He competed well after giving up the home runs. Sometimes you have to give the hitters credit. Sometimes they put a good swing on the ball.”
Madison Cent.…000 300 0–3 6 1
Ballard…010 000 0–1 6 0
WP – Jeremy Lakes (5-0). LP – Adam Boone (2-5). 2B – Nick Nonos 2 (B). HR – Jimmy Wright (MC), Ben Fisher (MC). Records – Madison Central 11-6, Ballard 15-8.