BOURBON — Triton head coach Tyler Hensley’s advice to Delano Shumpert paid big dividends for the Trojans Wednesday.
Hensley’s advice to his clean-up hitter? No need to kill it; just shorten up your swing and make contact.
Shumpert pulled an inside, low offering from Culver closer Westin Keller over left fielder Dakota Bennett’s head for a two-out, two-run double to tie it up at 6-all, took third on a wild pitch, then promptly scored the game-winner on another wild pitch with a Pete Rose slide across home plate in the sixth. Ryan Kaufman and the Triton defense made it stand up with the tying run on third in the top of the seventh to give the Trojans their first win of the year at home in Bourbon.
“I told him. I said ‘Cut your swing down,’ and he cut some off it,” said Hensley of Shumpert. “He’s always swinging for the fences, and I said ‘Look at what happens when you keep your weight back, and you just make good contact.’”
Shumpert also tripled in a run during a two-run third that tied the game up at two runs apiece earlier in the night, and he finished the game 2-for-3 with a walk, three runs scored and three RBIs. But several other Triton players got in on the hit parade, too. All told, the Trojans collected 10 hits in a reprisal just 24 hours after suffering a 7-1 defeat in Culver.
Ryan Kaufman also finished 2-for-3 with a walk and two runs scored, and Ty Ferry finished 3-for-4 with one of the two game-tying runs off Shumpert’s big double in the sixth.
Ferry also benefitted from a shortened swing Wednesday, explained Hensley.
“He cut his swing down. He’s not going to hit any home runs, so you’ve got to get singles. And he got three singles, right?” said the Triton skipper. “Just put the bat on the ball. Like I explain every day — they’re high school kids. You’re going to make a mistake, and they’re no different than you are. Put it in their position, and make them make a play.”
Meanwhile, Triton’s pitching staff of two limited Culver batters to six hits on the night.
Sophomore Jeremiah Farrell got the start, giving up just two hits and three walks with one hit batsman for two runs over three innings in a no-decision. Kaufman surrendered four runs — three earned — off four walks and four hits but struck out seven in his four innings of work, including a game-clinching K to Culver nine hole hitter Jalen King with Brandon England threatening to score the tying run in the seventh.
“Farrell, that’s his first start as a varsity player. He played 13-15 last year, and he learned a lot because he’s never been taught right. He’s actually got really good control. He’s got a good arm, but if you load up the zone you don’t know what’s going to happen. That’s the problem this year. We’ve got too many walks. I don’t care about hits; let them hit the ball. That’s what we teach,” Hensley said.
“The first 30 days you’ve got to keep them under 70 pitches. We don’t want to let them go into that inning, so we pulled him. Well, actually it’s past 30 days so we could’ve pitched him until 80, so we kind of made a little mistake, but that’s OK.”
Triton had to battle from behind all night en route to its first win of the season.
Culver plated a run off a hit batsman and RBI single by Brandon Jones in the first, then tacked on another off a Joey Paul walk, a stolen base and two wild pitches from Farrell in the third before Triton answered back with the first of Shumpert’s two hits and two runs in the bottom half of the inning.
The Cavs put up another two runs over the fourth and fifth innings with two walks, another stolen base and a wild pitch in the fourth, and a Jones single, a wild pitch, a stolen base and an error in the fifth, but the Trojans responded again with two runs off a number of walks and wild pitches by Jones in their half of the fifth.
Culver scratched out another two runs in the top of the sixth with a pair of walks and a trio of singles by Brandon England, Keller and Paul, but it wasn’t enough to hold off the Trojans and their three-run sixth.
“That’s what we talk about all year — don’t quit. You quit, you probably get beat. That’s one good thing about this team. They don’t quit. They keep playing hard. As a coach, that’s all you need,” said Hensley.
Culver slips to 2-2-1 with a 1-1 Hoosier North Athletic Conference mark. Triton improves to 1-3 with a 1-1 HNAC record. The Trojans host Pioneer in a doubleheader Saturday, beginning at 11 a.m.