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McFarland, steady offense pushes Owensboro Catholic past Green Waves to 3rd Region Championship berth

May 24, 2022 | 12:05 am

Updated May 24, 2022 | 2:23 am

Photo by Gage Johnson

A complete-game gem from senior Sam McFarland and steady offense were key factors in a 9-1 win over Meade County on Monday to help the Aces advance to the 3rd Region Championship.

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After a scoreless first inning, it was Owensboro Catholic who got the first run of the game in the top of the second. A one-out walk and a single from freshman Brady Atwell led to runners in scoring position after advancing on a fly out, which senior John Frey took advantage of with an RBI single to take a 1-0 lead into the bottom of the second.

It looked like the Green Wave were set to even the game up in the bottom half of the inning thanks to back-to-back one-out singles. However, a spectacular diving catch by sophomore Elijah Blair in center led to a double play at second to send the Aces into third still in charge 1-0.

Munsey took advantage of this momentum with one out in the top of the third, sending a no-doubt home run to right to give Owensboro Catholic a 2-0 lead. McFarland all the while was stifling Meade County at the plate.

McFarland had kept the Green Wave scoreless through four, allowing just two hits and striking out three. The Aces gave him some more insurance runs in the top of the fifth, as back-to-back singles to start the inning led to a one-out RBI single for senior Luke Scales.

Senior Luke Evans and Scales both advanced to scoring position on the throw home the previous play, which led to McFarland helping himself with a sac fly to right to take a 4-0 lead into the bottom half of the inning.

Meade County was able to get its first run of the game in the bottom of the sixth, as senior Sumner Crosier sent a line drive over the right field wall to make it a 4-1 game. However, Owensboro Catholic responded once again in the top of the seventh.

Following a one-out single from Evans, a hit and run with Munsey put runners on the corners. Scales was hit the very next pitch, before McFarland singled to right to make it 5-1.

But it was senior Braden Mundy who hit the proverbial dagger over the center field wall the following at-bat, as his grand slam gave the Aces a commanding 9-1 lead. This was more than enough for McFarland to close the door, helping them advance to the 3rd Region Championship with a 9-1 win.

The senior righty tossed all seven innings for the Aces on Monday, allowing one earned run on five hits, while walking one and striking out five. Head Coach Jody Hamilton McFarland had an all-around game on Monday that really helped catapult them to the win.

“I thought Sam was really dialed in,” Hamilton said. “He looked great, had command of all of his pitches that he needed to and fielded his position well. He did everything a pitcher would do to win a game. So I thought he did good.”

While McFarland might not have gotten all the swing and misses he wanted at the plate, he knew that his defense wouldn’t let him down behind him.

“My curveball, my changeup, my offspeed, I haven’t had those all year long,” McFarland said. “But today they were there for the most part. I had my fastball big time. I didn’t have a ton of strikeouts, I had really really good defense behind me and that’s all I needed.”

Offensively McFarland also had a solid day at the plate, chipping in two RBIs. It was Mundy who led the way with four RBIs thanks to his grand slam, while Frey, Munsey and Scales all had one each.

Hamilton said he feels as though his team’s experience and maturity is paying dividends at the plate and that they will need to keep that up in the 3rd Region Championship at 7 p.m. on Wednesday.

“I just think they’ve got really good approaches right now,” Hamilton said. “It’s like we go back to talking about being focused and mature. They’re all having really good at-bats. But we got another tough one coming up whoever it is. I just know we’ve played both of them and they’re both really quality teams.”

May 24, 2022 | 12:05 am

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