By Hunter Tickel
Perry County News
TELL CITY —Tell City had to wait nearly two years for this baseball opener, it produced extra innings.
The Marksmen topped Floyd Central 4-3 as senior first baseman Ross Wilgus smashed a two-out single to left field for the winning RBI in the bottom of the 10th on Wednesday.
“All the seniors have been in that situation so many times it was just like another at-bat, it felt like,” Wilgus said.
It shouldn’t have felt that way for him as coach Trent Benningfield said he was one of five players making their debut in a varsity lineup.
“It was great, sophomore year I broke my elbow halfway through the season pitching,” Wilgus, who went 3-for-5, said. “To be back with my brothers and back doing this feels great.”
His swing brought home junior third baseman Jaxon Naviaux for his second score of the day.
“We had way too many strikeouts early on in the game,” Benningfield said. “Our baserunning was not very good at all. When I saw the infield come in, we just needed something deep to the outfield. A base hit or sac fly and score. Once Hunter (Beckort) got the second out it kind of closed our chances. Instead of getting a sac fly, now we have to have a hit.”
The final inning jump started with a leadoff walk by Naviaux. Senior shortstop Bren Miller was hit by a pitch before senior catcher Hunter Beckort, who led the team with two RBIs, grounded out to first leaving Naviaux saddled to third.
No.1 junior pitcher Spencer Sandage, who allowed one run in the first four innings, said he missed the team camaraderie.
“I gave up a couple of walks,” Sandage said. “That’s not what’s asked. I can’t let this one performance affect my future one. I got to keep going, keep my head down and keep grinding.”
He got out of the fourth by forcing a fly out and a strikeout with the bases full.
“Spencer was awesome, I could not have asked for more out of Spencer,” Benningfield said. “I told him his pitch count was 60 going into it. I thought that would get him through two full innings maybe three. He ended up getting us through four.”
Senior relief pitcher Shane Braunecker walked a batter on a full count with the bases loaded and another to fall behind 3-1. That’s when junior relief pitcher Tanner Jennings got out of the jam by fanning a batter.
It was a slow start in a return to baseball after a year away due to COVID-19. Wilgus struck out to end the first with the bases loaded.
“It feels great, a year off is not good for anybody,” Sandage said. “We knew we were going to come out slow. We just persevered and stuck with it. We did what the coaches asked us to do. We put in work in the offseason. It feels great to be back.”
The next inning saw second baseman Jacob Chestnut capture the first steal of the campaign, and leadoff centerfielder Gage Meunier, a junior, drove in senior Corey Braunecker for the first run.
In the sixth, Beckort drilled a two-out double to the center fence on a 2-0 count to bring in Naviaux and Miller to even it up heading to the seventh.
The Marksmen (1-0) showed that they can battle with strong 4A sides.
“That’s a very nice baseball team,” Benningfield said. “Very nice for our ballclub. We always have a lot of stuff that we need to clean up. It wasn’t pretty but that’s a heck of a win, a way to start the season.”