Ellis pitched a complete-game gem, scattering eight hits, as the Red Devils conquered the Highlanders 5-2 on Wednesday night at Highlander Field. The Red Devils pounded out three extra-base hits in the first inning for three quick runs, and Ellis peppered the strike zone the rest of the way to salt away a momentum-building win.
Ellis (2-1) struck out only two, but he did not issue a walk to spark a dangerous Floyd offense. The three-run cushion boosted his confidence, and the flawless defense behind him made his life much easier.
“I knew my team would back me up,” Ellis said. “After we scored some runs, that gave me a lot of confidence.”
His father Derek, the Jeffersonville coach, was hoping for four innings and some quality bullpen work. He never had to make that move. The Highlanders (12-2) strung together three hits for two runs in the third, but made little noise after that.
“Extremely proud,” Derek Ellis said. “It’s Floyd Central, and you never feel comfortable at any point. I didn’t expect that performance. We thought we would be in the bullpen early. It was a good win. It was a great pitching performance by Ian, and we set the tone early.”
The Red Devils (7-3) jumped on Floyd starter Brandon Smith with an Ellis double to right, Joe Burke’s triple over the head of Floyd right fielder Evan Jewell, Casey Gibson’s double off the left-field fence, and Nolan Fertig’s sharp RBI single.
“You don’t expect that,” Derek Ellis said. “Brandon Smith is a very good pitcher. We put some good swings on some good pitches.”
After Floyd closed within 3-2 on RBI hits by Trey Fulton and Austin Newell, Jeffersonville added insurance runs in the fourth (with Ellis cracking an infield single off Smith’s glove with two outs to chase home Jeremiah Phelps) and the seventh (Bailey’s Falkenstein’s RBI double to deep left-center).
“They did a good job of hitting the ball,” Floyd coach Casey LaDuke said. “They did a heck of a job of putting the ball in play. We were playing behind. That was a big deal. The longer you stay behind, you start pressing a little bit.”
Joe Burke had three hits for the Red Devils, who had lost the regular-season game against the rival Highlanders for three straight years, only to gain revenge in the postseason. That point was not overlooked in either dugout.
“It’s going to be motivation for Floyd Central,” said Ellis, whose club could see Floyd again in the Hoosier Hills Conference tournament and the 4-A sectional. “I told our guys in the huddle not to use this as our sectional. It’s a great win, but we have a lot of games to play.”
Jeffersonville 300 100 1 – 5 12 0
Floyd Central 002 000 0 – 2 8 1
WP – Ian Ellis (2-1); LP – Brandon Smith (2-2); 2B – Ian Ellis, Casey Gibson, Bailey Falkenstein (J), Kyle Beach (FC); 3B – Joe Burke (J); Records – Jeffersonville 7-3, Floyd Central 12-2.