WINFIELD — Sissonville learned its lesson Wednesday and put it to good use a day later.
Just like in their previous game, the Indians vaulted into an early 3-0 lead Thursday evening, but this time never let off the gas, riding the complete-game pitching of Zac Boggess to a 7-3 victory over Cardinal Conference rival Winfield.
A senior right-hander, Boggess (5-2) limited the Generals to five hits and two earned runs, striking out seven and walking four. After allowing six baserunners in the first two innings, he buckled down and permitted just two singles the rest of the way.
“I definitely started out and didn’t have all my stuff,’’ Boggess said, “but as I went on, I could definitely feel it was coming along. My fastball was getting a little bit harder, I was getting more control of my curveball and my changeup, and if you can throw all those pitches for strikes, that way you can get the win for your team.’’
The Indians (10-7) were still reeling a bit from Wednesday’s 12-4 home loss to Nitro, a game in which they frittered away a 3-0 lead after two innings. On Thursday, though, they stayed in the moment.
After Winfield (8-8) scored twice in the fifth to make it 5-3, Sissonville immediately responded with two runs in the top of the sixth, getting an RBI single from Caden Carpenter (3 for 4, double, two RBIs) and a sacrifice fly from Chance Jones (2 for 2, two RBIs).
“We had a good heart-to-heart talk last night about life,’’ said Indians coach Chad Carpenter, “and I think they understood my message. We reiterated it today before we went out.
“We were fortunate enough to jump out to a lead, but you’ve got to treat each inning like it’s a new inning, a new game and it’s 0-0, and play that way. I’m real proud of my guys for responding. Last night, we didn’t play with any energy and we’ve been that way pretty much all week.’’
Sissonville was playing its fourth game this week following last week’s spring break trip to Knoxville, Tennessee, for four games. Chad Carpenter told Boggess he needed to have a complete game against Winfield because the team was running out of arms.
“He instilled in me that I’ve got to kind of step up here,’’ Boggess said, “because we’ve had eight games the last nine days and we’re running low on pitching. If I don’t finish this game, have a complete game, someone else has to come in, and I really needed to finish it myself.’
Boggess gave himself just enough margin for success, finishing with 108 pitches — two shy of the state-imposed limit for one game.
“He actually pitched today,’’ Chad Carpenter said. “He wasn’t a thrower. Monday at Wayne, he was just throwing the ball. Today he pitched a really good game — super proud of him.’’
Boggess and Caden Carpenter each went 3 for 4 to lead the 13-hit attack for Sissonville. Jones and Scott Soblit donated a pair of hits apiece off Winfield ace Evan Clay, who entered the game 4-0 with a 1.50 ERA.
Winfield, meanwhile, mustered few scoring threats after the second inning. Sissonville shortstop Blake Newhouse helped keep it that way, making an over-the-shoulder catch of a Nick Ferguson pop fly to shallow center in the sixth and then ending the game by snagging a line drive off the bat of Tate Hancock and doubling a runner off second base.
Aaron Blackwell (2 for 3) turned in a hustle double to start the fourth for Winfield, but didn’t advance an inch.
“You’ve got to take advantage of your opportunities,’’ said Generals coach Will Isaacs. “When you don’t put pressure on opponents to make plays and you don’t make plays yourself, that makes it hard. It’s not a good combination at all.
“We had bases loaded [in the second] and didn’t score. We struck out five times with runners in scoring position. You do those things, you’re not going to win against good teams that are putting the ball in play.’’
Clay, who began the game with a 27-7 strikeout-to-walk ratio, walked the first batter he faced and didn’t have a single K until the final inning. Two of the runs he allowed were unearned.
“To be quite honest, we missed a lot of locations, especially with two strikes,’’ Isaacs said. “We had advantage counts and left the ball in the middle of the plate, and they did what they’re supposed to do. They hit it hard.
“Here’s the thing: They had a game [Wednesday] where they probably didn’t like the outcome. We had a game [Tuesday, an 11-1 loss at Logan] that we definitely didn’t like the outcome. They responded better than we responded.’’
Boggess thinks Sissonville can use the win to escape a funk that brought six losses over the previous nine games to offset a 5-0 start.
“It’s huge,’’ he said. “It raises the confidence of the team. We came yesterday with Nitro and got the lead, and then we just kind of rolled over. To do well in this conference, you have to battle the entire game, and that’s what we did here. Hopefully, this is a turning point where we can keep the ball rolling against a real good team.’’