May 24—AURORA — The Eastern Indiana Athletic Conference baseball championship came down to the last game of the season.
Batesville's opened up a 7-0 lead, then held on for a 7-4 victory over South Dearborn to claim the conference title outright.
Saturday's win came on the heels of South Dearborn winning 5-2 at Batesville on Friday, which snapped the Bulldogs' 12-game winning streak.
BHS coach Justin Tucker said it was a relief to nail down the outright title. While winning conference was a goal, doing well in the tournament is their main goal.
"Honestly, after that loss last week we were able to fix some weaknesses we had throughout the season," Tucker said. "Credit to South Dearborm, they played a great game that day. We used it in terms to wake up and fix things."
BHS ends the regular season with a record of 19-5 overall and 11-3 in the EIAC. South Dearborn (17-9, 9-5) finished third in the EIAC behind Franklin County (17-7, 10-4).
It's a repeat for the Bulldogs, who shared the EIAC title in 2019 with South Dearborn, Franklin County and East Central. (There was no 2020 season because of the pandemic.)
Batesville's last outright EIAC win came in 2010.
As for their 12-game winning streak, Tucker credited that to a few things.
"We gained some confidence early in the season," Tucker said. "We've had consistency with our pitching staff, giving up two to three runs a game. And we have enough offense to overcome a two or three-run deficit. So I think it's just a mixture of guys having confidence, offensively and defensively, and our pitchers being very good and consistent.
South Dearborn 5, Batesville 2
Ryan Willoughby allowed only five hits and two runs over seven innings, striking out five and walking one to hand the Bulldogs their first loss since April 17.
Trey Peters took the loss, allowing six hits and four runs over five innings. The righty struck out six.
Riley Zink went 2-for-3 to lead BHS at the plate.
Batesville 7, South Dearborn 4
Zink drove in two runs in the first inning on a double, giving BHS a 2-0 lead.
The Dogs tacked on another run in the third and then plated four in the fourth. Jack Grunkemeyer, Sam Voegele and Willy Sherwood all drove in runs that inning.
Jacob Meer earned the win, allowing four hits and two runs in 5 2/3 innings.
Will Habig and Voegele pitched in relief.
Batesville smacked seven hits, with Grunkemeyer and Trey Peters each hitting two.
Sectional play begins Wednesday with a familiar opponent. Batesville and South Dearborn will play a rubber match at 6:30 p.m. at Lawrenceburg.
"We've created a little rivalry there," Tucker said of the Knights. "They're definitely no slouch. The new polls came out and we're No. 5, but at the end of the day that means nothing come tournament time. We know they're a solid team, and we're excited for Wednesday. We've got to be ready to play."
Andy Scheidler may be contacted at 812-663-3111 ext. 217401 or email@example.com.