Tuesday night at Butler High School saw the Independence Patriots jump out to an early lead and hold off a Butler seventh inning rally for a 10-5 win and sweeping the regular season series with the Bulldogs.
Senior right hander Corbin Berkovics earned the win for the Patriots, going five and a half innings while allowing three runs on six hits with four strikeouts. Berkovics also went 2-for-3 from the plate hitting two doubles and picking up five RBIs.
Indy got on the scoreboard in the top of the first inning after Nate Brown was awarded first base after being hit by a pitch. Matthew Mangum followed and drew a walk. With two outs and two on, CJ Brown singled to score Brown from second.
Butler answered back in the bottom half on the first inning. Butler’s Johnny Hummel reached on an infield hit and moved to second on an Alex Novak single. Justin Bennett came to bat and singled to left field scoring Hummel to tie the score 1-1 at the end of the first inning.
Indy picked up two more runs in the top of the second. Chase Rappe reached on an error and scored on a Bubba Comer double. Nate Brown picked up an RBI on a shot to right field scoring Comer to make the score 3-1 after two full innings.
Indy kept the scoring going by adding three more runs in the top of the third. Noah Howie led off with a single to right field. With CJ Brown at the plate, Howie attempted to steal second on a hit and run call. Brown missed the pitch, and his momentum caused him to step across the plate. The home plate umpire called Brown out for batter interference on the throw to second base and then ordered Howie back to first base.
Ryan Mangum followed and drew a walk. With runners on first and second, Corbin Berkovics hit a shot down the third baseline for a double scoring Howie and Mangum.
The double by Berkovics prompted a pitching change for the Bulldogs. Justin Bennett came in to relieve starter Dylan Thomas.
After getting the second out, Bennett walked Raja Milton. With runners on the corners, Bubba Comer singled to score Hagan, who was running for Berkovics.
In the bottom half of the third Butler picked up a run after Drew Roberts drew a walk and then stole second and third. Justin Bennett singled to left field to score Roberts making the score 6-2 at the end of three full innings.
Corbin Berkovics picked up two more RBIs in the top of the fourth inning by hitting another double to left field scoring Noah Howie and Ryan Mangum making the score 8-2. However, Butler picked up a run in the bottom half of the inning when Grayson Chesser scored on a Kyle Ziefert sacrifice to make the score 8-3 after four full innings of play.
Butler’s Christian Peters relieved Justin Bennett in the fifth inning.
In the top of the sixth Indy added two insurance runs. Matthew Mangum led off and drew a walk. Noah Howie followed with a base hit to left field that advanced Mangum to third, and Howie went to second base on the throw to third. CJ Brown walked to load the bases. Corbin Berkovics drew a walk to score Mangum. Howie picked up the second run on a passed ball making the score 10-3.
Drew Harris got the call to close the game, and the Bulldogs went down in order in the bottom of the sixth.
In the top of the seventh Butler’s Brian Swett came in to pitch. Indy picked up no runs and stranded two base runners.
Butler made a little run in the bottom half of the inning. Travis Ziefert led off with a walk. Kyle Ziefert singled putting runners on first and second. Both runners advanced on a passed ball. Drew Roberts singled to score Travis Ziefert. Johnny Hummel sacrificed to score Kyle Ziefert. After cutting the score to 10-5, Harris settled down and got Alex Novak to fly out to center and struck out Justin Bennett to end the game and give the Patriots a 10-5 Southern 4A Conference win.
Independence improved to 8-4 in conference play and 11-9 overall.
Independence 1 2 3 2 0 2 0 – 10
Butler 1 0 1 1 0 0 2 – 5