South Oldham tops rival Oldham County, 6-1 in district final
The South Oldham High School baseball team turned the tables on one of their closest rivals, and in doing so, became district champions.
The Dragons secured the 29th District title with a 6-1 victory over Oldham County, who had beaten the Dragons twice prior this season. Senior Michael Higgins went the distance for the Dragons, striking out eight and walking just one Colonel.
“I hope we’re peaking with the right time,” Dragons head coach Todd Driskell said. “When the weather heats up so does our bats. I’d like to think that we’re gelling at the right time, but it’s high school kids and high school baseball, so you never know.
The Dragons have had a strong May, losing just three times while winning seven, including each of the last three. Driskell credits this to the team’s strong pitching and hitting starting to come around late in the season.
Pitchers Higgins and Dustin Cecil have been the aces of the team all year, and while there’s been a rotating cast of pitchers competing for the third spot, the squad has received quality starts from players such as sophomores Sam LaBarbera and Matt Roy, and junior Will Moriarity.
“I’d like to have another arm,” Driskell said. “We’ve had some young sophomores whose pitch counts have been getting up pretty quick. We’ve got a guy, Will Moriarity, who has been shut down for a little bit, but Matt Roy has really been coming on. He’s just a sophomore and is 5-1 and Sam LaBarbera is 3-1. We’ve got some arms but they’re kind of young. Moriarity is a junior but when we get into a series with three games in three days, we’ve got to break up that third game.”
In five of the Dragons seven wins this month, they’ve scratched off six runs or more, a sign that the team’s hitters are starting to come around.
“In practice they’ve been really focused,” Driskell said. “They’ve been working on shorting things up and on offspeed pitches. In the beginning it’s just part of baseball and pitchers are always ahead of batters, but as the season goes on the hitters catch up. I think they’ve stayed the course and they’re seeing the fruits of their labor.
“They’re a hungry group of young men and we’d like to see them successful.”
Quite similarly to the Dragons boys basketball team, a late-season loss has served as a catalyst for the team to regain their focus and achieve the first of their goals on the season.
“Last Wednesday, we just left our minds on the bus,” Driskell said of the Dragons gut-punch defeat at North Bullitt. “We got up 1-0 and then played the worst inning we could imagine and got beat, 10-2. We challenged (our team) after the game and said ‘talk’s cheap’.
“I said ‘if you wanted to achieve something special, show us with your actions, show us you want to do something’. We bounced back and beat Eastern, 4-0 and it was a clean game. Then we were razor sharp against North Oldham (on Monday) and we were locked and loaded then, and we had already beaten them twice. Then tonight, OC had beaten us twice and we turned the tables and we were able to come out and win.
“You learn a lot more in a humbling defeat than in a hollow victory.”