MOUNT CARMEL -- Coming off an eye opening loss to a very talented Jasper team, Mount Carmel head coach Shea Smith and his team knew they needed to bounce back and regather their composure.
With senior Logan Durham taking the mound, the Aces did just that.
Durham threw a complete game and the Aces bats came alive, helping the Aces blitz past Carmi 10-4 on Saturday afternoon at Dee White Field in Mount Carmel.
In the first inning the Bulldog hitters pushed Durham for a run to take a 1-0 advantage, but that run would prove to be Durham's lone run allowed for much of the ballgame.
Mount Carmel seized the lead from Carmi for good in the bottom of the second off an RBI double by junior third baseman Adam Stoneberger, giving the Aces a 2-1 lead as the inning came to an end.
Smith must have liked the speedy Aces' matchup today against Carmi, as the Aces were off and running for stolen bases early and often. Some of the frequent thefts came from Mount Carmel baserunners such as junior Aden Gill, sophomore Rayce Loudermilk and Stoneberger. Stoneberger swiped a pair of bases to setup an RBI for Gill in the fourth and sparking a three-run inning for the Aces. Loudermilk and senior Bret Doan would each tack on RBIs to give the Aces a 5-1 lead and force a pitching change for the Bulldogs.
"We're going to be real aggressive," Smith spoke of his team's aggressiveness on the base path. "I got a lot of guys experience and they know how to read the pitches at this point, we're getting good jumps. Some jumps not as great as others, but those kids are fast enough to make up for it. They know I want them to be aggressive and sometimes they're going to get thrown out, that's part of it. Right now we're having a lot of success doing it."
As Durham continued to battle and force outs, his hitters continued to provide a wealth of run support. Senior Drew Arnott knocked in sophomore Kaleb Applebey and advanced junior Cade Newkirk to third, after Newkirk had swiped second. Newkirk eventually scored on a bloop double by junior Connor Lane to give the Aces a 7-1 advantage as the sixth inning came.
Carmi knocked a pair of singles to begin the sixth inning and Durham started to show some signs of fatigue. Gill helped his pitcher out by turning a double play on a grounder to short. With just a runner on third now, Durham got the next hitter to line out to end the scare.
For good measure the Aces provided three more runs in the bottom half of the sixth, Durham helped his own cause with an RBI double, scoring Loudermilk (who was in scoring position after a stolen base) and sending Doan to third. Applebey knocked in Doan on a sacrifice fly, followed by an Arnott sac fly to increase the lead to 10-1.
Smith left Durham on the mound, who sat around 70 pitches entering the seventh. Durham ran into a bit of trouble and his defense was a little sloppy. The Aces committed a couple errors and allowed three runs in the seventh prior to closing it out, ending the scoring threat and the game.
For Durham, he pitched a complete game, throwing seven frames of 12 hit baseball, fanning two Bulldogs and allowing just two earned runs, four total for the game.
"He usually gets to about 70 pitches," Smith spoke of Durham. "We ran him a little longer because he was throwing good, made a couple good hits, about the fourth or fifth time through. Stuff like that happens, we got a little sloppy on that one play, but we finished the game like we needed to. . . . It's not [everyday you see a complete game], he's usually only two or three innings but as long as the innings stay short he can keep going. He's been feeling good, he's worked really hard getting himself where he needs to be to be able to do this."
Seven Aces hitters scored an RBI, highlighted by Arnott's two despite not having a hit. Durham helped his own cause with his 2-for-4 performance at the plate, smacking a single, a double and an RBI.
"We've been working with our hitting," Smith said. "The Jasper game they were making a lot of great plays, the guys stayed confident. They were making contact, we didn't really change anything, we had a couple days in the cage, got back to a little more precise and fine tune some stuff. Our guys hit really well today."
Mount Carmel (4-3) will regroup following a great momentum building win and have nearly a week off prior to their next action. They'll return home to face Big Eight foe Vincennes Lincoln at 4:30 p.m. next Friday (April 12). The Alices sit with a 3-3 record, having defeated Richland County, Gibson Southern and Terre Haute South Vigo. They'll have a quick turnaround following their game against the Alices, having to travel to face Hamilton County on Saturday at 11 a.m. Smith expects Newkirk to take the mound on Friday.
"We had a weird thing with our scheduling this past week so now we don't have anything until Friday as of now," Smith said. "We'll see. Vincennes Lincoln here, that's a conference game, we played them tight last year. We go to HamCo Saturday and play them. HamCo's another regional team we need to be ready for and do the same thing."
MC -- 0 2 0 3 2 3 X -- 10
CWC -- 1 0 0 0 0 0 3 -- 4
Mount Carmel notable hitting: Gill 1-for-4, R. Durham 2-for-4, 2B, RBI, R. Doan 2-for-3, RBI, R. Lane 2-for-3, 2B, RBI. Applebey 0-for-3, RBI, R. Arnott 0-for-3, 2 RBIs, R. Loudermilk 1-for-4, RBI, 2 R. Newkirk 2-for-4, 2B, 2 R. Stoneberger 1-for-3, 2B, RBI, R.
Aces pitching: WP -- Durham 7 IP, 12 H, 4 R, 2 ER, 2 K.