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South Western rallies, eclipses last year's win total

Sometimes a couple inches can change the course of game.

In South Western's case, the team hopes it can change the course of their entire season.

Early in Wednesday's 4-2 win against New Oxford, the Mustangs appeared headed for a fourth consecutive loss. They hadn't mustered a hit through three innings, with their only baserunner coming when Colonials shortstop Corban Czap sailed a throw high above first baseman Alex Smith's head.

When the fourth inning started, Czap gave the Mustangs another gift by making the same error on another ground ball. Then South Western sophomore Luke Small laid down a bunt that rolled halfway down the third base line and lingered there, refusing to move just a couple inches into foul territory as New Oxford players stared at it.

"Coach gave me he bunt sign, and I did my best. It was an outside pitch, so I had to lean over and do it just like I was taught," Small said. "When I bunted it, I knew it was a good bunt, and I was just hoping I could beat it out."

That bunt, which so nearly landed as a forgotten foul ball, ignited a four-run rally. Austin Weaver drove in the first run with a double, then Small beat out a throw home on a Miles Francis ground ball to shortstop. Jay Yeater later drove in two more runs with a hard single.

"Hitting is all confidence," Mustangs coach Mike Resetar said. "You see how it works, guy gets on, guy drops a bunt, guy hits a double. It's just contagious. Good play is contagious, bad play is contagious. Unfortunately we've been too far on the bad side, we've made too many errors, and it rolls over to the next guy. The bad plays build on each other, but so does good. That's what we've got to start doing a little more of like what we did taking advantage of those situations where we get a break and capitalize on it."

South Western now sits at 4-6 at the halfway point of its season, already exceeding last year's full-season win total of three. The Mustangs have aspirations of earning a spot in districts, so much so that Resetar moved Kyle Raubenstine from catcher to pitcher when New Oxford put a couple runners on base to start the seventh inning.

"We didn't want to use him, we had other options we wanted to go to," Resetar said. "But we've got to get some wins. We had to go at that point with the best guy we had, which is Kyle."

The Mustangs are now 4-3 in YAIAA Division I play, while New Oxford drops to 3-4 (7-4 overall).

"We have to hit the ball a little better than we have," Colonials coach Scott Anderson said. "We've won a bunch of games pitching and playing defense. I'm not extremely happy with some of the approaches we had at the plate today, and we need to get better with that."

South Western 4, New Oxford 2

New Oxford0001010—292South Western000400x—460

NO, Dominic Grimes and Keegan Romanoff; SW, Matt Taylor, Jay Yancheski (5), Kyle Raubenstine (7) and Raubenstine, John Youngman (7).

SO-BB — NO, Grimes 5-1. SW, Taylor 8-2, Yancheski 0-0, Raubenstine 1-0; W — Taylor; L — Grimes; 2B — NO, Alex Smith, SW, Austin Weaver, Luke Small, Austin Staub.