HUNTINGTON – Nothing in baseball can match an ace pitcher, not even the weight of history.
That was proved Saturday night, when the South Side baseball team won the Huntington North Sectional championship, powered by the superb pitching of William Coursen-Carr.
Coursen-Carr pitched a complete game in a 4-1 win over the Homestead Spartans. He struck out 11, gave up five hits and walked two.
He was great, just great, Archers coach Sheldon Van Pelt said of Coursen-Carr. All year long, we’ve been gearing up for this type of game here with Will. He’s been great. He’s been a leader. We’ve been working on his breaking pitches, and I knew they were a good fastball-hitting team, so I knew we had to get ahead of the count with his breaking stuff and it worked.
The Archers (19-7) had never won a sectional title, according to the IHSAA. And they hadn’t won 19 games since 1977, a feat that was equaled Saturday at Huntington University’s Forest Glen Park.
With Coursen-Carr’s team trailing on a first-inning run by Homestead senior pitcher Brandon Soat, who got on base with a single and scored because of a wild pitch, his offense was pivotal in the victory, too.
In the top of the third, his line-drive double into center field scored two. And a suicide squeeze by junior Justin Kiessling scored sophomore Donovan Clark for a 3-1 lead.
Whenever there was a jam for Coursen-Carr (9-1), the Indiana University recruit, worked his way out of it. That included a bases-loaded situation in the second and one in the third with men on second and third.
Recently, I’ve been starting off the beginning innings poorly, said Coursen-Carr, who has 125 strikeouts this season. Once there were a bunch of base runners, I got myself into the zone. I knew I had to shut them down. We’re not really a team that scores a ton of runs.
Homestead (24-5) was the eighth-ranked team in Class 4A and had defeated its rival, second-ranked Huntington North, 2-0 earlier in the day. The Spartans’ Jake Weber pitched a one-hitter with five strikeouts in that game.
At night, the Spartans got a another great pitching outing from Soat (6-2), an IPFW recruit, who went 6 1/3 innings, giving up four hits and four runs, striking out 10 and walking four.
Coursen-Carr was 2 for 3 with a walk. Clark had two walks and two stolen bases.
We just tried to stay patient and put it in play. It worked out for us, said Van Pelt, whose team beat Jay County 11-1 in the semifinals. Going into the second game, I told them, It’s Homestead, and you just have to play your game. They do the same things we do.