Meridian Star

Sports

March 26, 2014

Ross, SEL shut down Philly

MERIDIAN —     Nathan Ross' only issue Tuesday night was a shaky sixth inning.

    And even then, the Southeast Lauderdale High School pitcher didn't allow a runner to cross home plate.

Ross got the win for the Tigers by pitching a complete-game shutout as Southeast defeated Philadelphia High School, 5-0.

    "He did great," Tigers head coach Shay Cooper said. "It gives us something to work off of. He was in control the entire game, and the offense can kind of build off of that."

    In seven innings, Ross yielded just two hits, two walks and hit one batter. He also struck out 12 while relying on a sharp breaking ball.

    "My curveball was working, and I was just locating my fastball," Ross said.

    Trailing 3-0 in the top of the sixth, Philadelphia's best chance to make the game interesting came when they managed to load the bases against Ross.             Despite having trouble with his control throughout the inning, Ross was able to end the inning by striking out Greg Eiland.

    "It was big," Ross said of the strikeout.

    Cooper said he was glad he stuck with Ross on the mound instead of pulling him for a reliever in the sixth.

    "We didn't want to have to get to that," Cooper said. "We had guys ready if things kind of looked like they had taken a turn, but we were planning on going with him."

    And the Tigers were able to give Ross a little bit amore breathing room in the bottom of the sixth when Gage Hagan and Jake Miller came home on a throwing error.

    "Scoring those two more runs helped me out a little bit on the mound in that last inning," Ross said.

    But Ross walked a Philadelphia batter to open the top of the seventh, prompting Cooper to visit the mound.

    "I just told him to pour it into the zone," Cooper said. "They hadn't really hit him up to that point, and when you have a lead, you have to work with that lead."

    After Cooper's pep talk, Ross proceeded to strike out the next two batters and get the third batter to fly out to center field to end the game.

    "He just said, 'Don't try to throw hard, just throw strikes and don't try to worry about picking off a lot and just try to focus on your batters,'" Ross said of Cooper's visit to the mound.

    Gage Ramey and Smith scored Southeast's first two runs in the bottom of the second inning off a double by Hagan. The Tigers added another run in the top of the third off a double by Brett Carney that sent home Mason Irby.

Smith and Miller both finished the game 2-for-3, and Hagan went 2-for-4.

    Southeast (7-6) will play at Raleigh High School Thursday.

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