By George Bremer
The Herald Bulletin
PENDLETON, Ind. —
There was some debate overnight about whether Curtis Wilson would return to the mound Thursday when Anderson’s Class 4A sectional game resumed against Richmond.
But the Indians senior never had a doubt.
He iced his arm after throwing two innings against the Red Devils before lightning and rain suspended play Wednesday night. Then he spent the next five innings making sure Richmond’s bats were colder than the ever-changing Indiana temperatures.
“I knew Richmond already beat us twice this year,” Wilson said after striking out 10 and leading Anderson (20-5) to a 4-0 first-round victory, “and I wasn’t going to let it happen again.”
Wilson now has thrown 21 consecutive scoreless innings against the North Central Conference rival Red Devils, dating back to last season, and he’s won four straight sectional decisions.
The left-hander, who improved to 6-1 on the season with Thursday’s victory, was the winning pitcher in all three of the Indians’ games last year as the team broke a drought of 17 years without a sectional crown.
Anderson coach Terry Turner hasn’t decided if he’ll go with Wilson again in Monday’s 10 a.m. semifinal against Greenfield-Central or start his No. 2 pitcher, senior Jerred Quartier (5-1).
Turner certainly saw enough to like from Wilson against the Red Devils. The Tribe’s ace mixed his slider and change-up with outstanding efficiency and stayed ahead of hitters all evening.
Seven of his 10 strikeouts came after the game restarted in the bottom of the third inning Thursday with Anderson leading 2-0, and Wilson allowed just two baserunners — on a fourth-inning walk and a sixth-inning error — over the final five frames.
Richmond’s only two hits were a pair of harmless singles Wednesday night when the weather was more than 20 degrees warmer.
“It seems like every time I throw it’s always cold or the wind is blowing,” Wilson said. “But you’ve got to deal with it. It’s Indiana. It can be snowing one day and 75 (degrees) the next.”
Anderson used an opportunistic offense against Richmond’s Christian Jordan and Alex Lyons. The Tribe’s four runs came on a combination of RBI singles by Drew Laughlin and Jake Fox and three Red Devils errors.
“I was hoping we’d put the ball in play a little better than we did,” Turner said.
But the 24th-year head coach had little to complain about after this one.
One year after breaking the program’s long sectional slump, Anderson seems just as hungry to win again.
“To be honest, and I’m not kidding you, it’s an attitude thing,” Turner said. “We know we have enough talent as a team that we can win this thing again. But it’s like I told the kids on the bus on the way over here, now is the time to focus. And I don’t think I have to worry about that at all.”