Spartans beat ACS, advance to Region 4 championship

South Warren will play for a regional title.

With an 8-3 win over Allen County-Scottsville on Tuesday evening in the Region 4 Baseball Tournament semifinals at Nick Denes Field, the Spartans earned a spot in Wednesday’s championship game – their first trip to the regional final since 2016.

The Spartans (28-12) trailed 2-0 after the top of the second inning but went on to score five runs in the bottom half of the frame – followed by three more in the fifth – to build a comfortable lead and didn’t look back.

“We knew we could come back,” South Warren shortstop Sam Gage said. “We came back in an elimination game against Greenwood earlier last week, so we were confident and have been resilient recently. We had confidence to be able to swing it and get back in it.”

South Warren – which will be seeking its first Region 4 crown since 2015 – will meet the Bowling Green/Russell County winner in Wednesday’s 6 p.m. title match.

“Nerve-racking – a little bit,” South Warren third baseman Dane Isable replied when asked what his thoughts were entering the championship. “But I feel like with our team we’ve got a good chance of winning it.”

Allen County-Scottsville (14-17) struck first in the top of the second inning.

Cayden Ross led off the frame with a single, and Aaron Howell quickly followed up with a double to set up Hunter Foster with a pair of runners on base. Taking advantage of the opportunity, Foster put a sacrifice groundout into play and was able to score Ross in the process.

In the next at-bat, Colby Lafitte laid down a single to plate Howell and give ACS a 2-0 lead.

South Warren wasted no time answering – and did so in a big way.

“Allen County came out and put two on us in the second inning, so we had to play from behind,” South Warren coach Chris Gage said. “Our guys responded quickly, and they responded well. Just survive and advance – that’s what we’re trying to do.”

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Trailing by a pair of runs, the Spartans put together a five-run frame in the bottom of the second to jump in front. With the bases loaded following a single from Cade Vernon, a walk and hit-by-pitch, Isable stepped to the plate and sent a hard single into the outfield to score two runners and tie it at 2-2.

“It felt great,” Isable said of his big hit. “I’ve been batting lefty most of the season, and then when the slow lefty came in I just turned around and batted righty, got a little poke and couldn’t do anything more. Today I felt like I did pretty good, so we’ll see where it goes.”

With the scoreboard knotted up, AJ Isable sent a sacrifice fly ball into the air and allowed a runner to score in the process. Then, in the next at-bat, Trent Rice doubled into right field to record an RBI, and a fielding error by the ACS right fielder allowed another run to cross and suddenly South Warren led 5-2.

After a scoreless third and fourth, the Spartans assembled another strong inning in the fifth as AJ Isable recorded an RBI single on a hit into left field and two more runs scored off an E7 in the process to push South Warren’s advantage to 8-2 entering the sixth.

Zane Ward’s RBI double in the top half of the inning brought Allen County-Scottsville within 8-3, but that’s as close as it would get as South Warren punched its ticket to the final.

“I couldn’t say enough about our kids and the way they battled today,” Allen County-Scottsville coach Scott Stamper said. “I’m proud of the way the kids fought and battled.”

ACSHS –  0 2 0 0 0 1 0 – 3 9 3

SWHS –   0 5 0 0 3 0 X – 8 9 2

WP: Smith.        LP: Ausbrooks.

Tyler Mansfield@ByMansfield

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