Cody Dillard has pitched in many big games for East Union and showed poise in the Urchins’ final game of the Union County Tournament. After striking out seven in a loss to Saltillo last week, the junior left-hander came out on Friday silencing the New Albany bats en route to the Urchins’ 6-5 win, capturing the 2012 Union County Tournament title.
“He’s a tremendous pitcher and competitor. He’s been a phenomenal pitcher for us, and I thought he was great against Saltillo last Saturday and he completely dominated the game tonight until the last inning,” East Union coach Chris Basil said. “I couldn’t be more proud of him because he’s a hard worker and a great kid.”
Dillard held the Bulldogs hitless until the fourth inning with Jonas Zahller getting the first hit for the ‘Dawgs. New Albany finished with three hits on the night after putting on an offensive clinic, outscoring Myrtle, Ingomar and West Union, 42-0.
“I just tried to keep all of my pitches off speed and low, not get them high, because I know what kind of hitters they have and if I hung them, I knew what they would do with it,” Dillard said of the Bulldogs.
Dillard’s bat also helped in the win, as he scored the Urchins’ first run off a double in the third and brought in another run in the fourth. East Union led 3-0 before an error and balk scored New Albany’s first two runs, making it 3-2.
Ahead 6-2, in the fifth, Easton Hall brought in one run and Jake McDonald brought in two off his single, making it 6-5. The Bulldogs had two runners on when Dillard recorded the final out for the Urchins.
“You have a freshman in a big situation, and he got us a big hit,” New Albany coach John Walker said of McDonald. “The thing that’s encouraging is the way we fought in that last inning, but at the same time, it’s discouraging, because we went through the motions for four innings in all aspects of the game, and you can’t do that against a good team and expect to win.”
Said Dillard of New Albany, “They’re a good team and they started hitting the ball good in that last inning, It felt good to get that last out because I didn’t want them to get anything else. I was throwing as hard as I could.”
Dillard struck out seven in the win, causing problems for the Bulldogs.
“He did a good, mixed it up well and had more velocity than we had seen in the last two days,” Walker said. “He’s a good pitcher, no doubt, and we just didn’t do a good job at the plate against him. He’s the kind of guy that will win them a lot of ball games.”
East Union entered the New Albany game coming off of a 2-1 loss to West Union. Tray Davis scored the lone run for the Urchins, and West Union scored two runs in the fourth off singles by Chase Bogue and Chris Beard. After the loss, junior Alex Boland challenged his team to come together and bounce back against the Bulldogs.
“I told our team to keep our heads up and finish this out. We’re better than that and a loss is a loss; it’s in the past,” Boland said. “The good thing about this game is that when it’s over, it’s over and it’s a new day. I told them we have a great pitcher going on the mound for us against New Albany, and to put that loss behind us. They beat us, but it’s time to suck it up.”
Before the loss to West Union, East Union defeated Ingomar, 2-1, and two-time defending UCT champion Myrtle, 14-1. Against the Hawks, four Urchins had multiple hits, led by Tray Davis with three hits. Basil credited his team for their effort in bouncing back against New Albany to win the school’s first county tournament title since 2009.
“It means a lot to the kids. They hear how good other teams are, and like tonight, we finally got a chance to play New Albany,” he said. “Our kids enjoy this, and we want that challenge. I’m very proud of them.”
New Albany cruised into the final game, winning contest over West Union (14-0), Myrtle (13-0) and Ingomar (15-0). In the wins, New Albany had 32 hits while allowing 11 for its opponents.
For East Union’s eight juniors, this is their final county tournament experience, as the team will play in Hawaii next year. Finishing with a tournament win, this group hopes to achieve even more going into division play.
“I’m glad we won it. It’s not about glorifying us,” Boland said. “It’s about getting us to where we need to be, and I’m glad we got to do this one last time since we’ll be out of state next year.”
“We have a great team. They’re all like a family, and we’ve worked hard thanks to our coaches,” Dillard added. “They’ve helped me in so many ways, and I’m proud of everyone for how they did. I hope we can keep winning and playing like we can, because we can go far.”
2012 Union Co. Tournament
Thursday, March 15
Ingomar 4 West Union 2
New Albany 14 West Union 0
East Union 2 Ingomar 1
New Albany 13 Myrtle 0
East Union 14 Myrtle 1
Friday, March 16
Myrtle 12 Ingomar 4
Myrtle 9 West Union 8
New Albany 15 Ingomar 0
West Union 2 East Union 1
East Union 6 New Albany 5
East Union 3-1
New Albany 3-1
West Union 1-3