South Central wins 2nd consecutive NTC title

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By Andrew Harner

It never seems to matter if South Central has to overhaul its roster after losing several players to graduation, the wins seem to come.

Such was the case last Thursday when the Cougars wrapped up their second straight National Trail Conference regular-season championship with an 8-5 win against Neoga.

Three players hit home runs during the game, which gives South Central two regular-season conference titles in two years of being in the conference since switching from the Midland Trail Conference prior to last season.

This year, however, the Cougars will look to win the NTC Tournament for the first time, after being defeated by St. Anthony, 4-1, in last season’s title game.

Those teams could very well be back in the title game this season, though Altamont and Windsor/Stew-Stras will provide tough challenges.

South Central (8-3, 7-1 NTC) beat St. Anthony, 5-4, last Tuesday, but lost to the Bulldogs, 7-1, in nonconference action on Sept. 24.

The only conference loss for the Cougars was an 11-6 loss to Altamont in the season-opener on Aug. 26.

South Central scored five runs in the third inning on the strength of a three-run home run by Noah Powless and a solo shot by Tyus Holmes.

Brett Harmeier later hit a solo home run in the fifth, and Kyle Bray was 3-for-4, with an RBI, and Gavin Ratermann had two hits and an RBI.

Tyler Ross (3-2) earned the win, pitching 6 1/3 innings and striking out three. He surrendered five runs – the last two coming on a seventh-inning home run by Tyler Romack – but Powless relieved him to record the last two outs.

Box score
Thursday, Sept. 26
South Central 8
Neoga 5
S: 0-0-5-0-2-0-1—8-12-2
N: 0-0-0-1-0-2-2—5-7-1
WP: Ross (3-2); 6 1/3 IP, 3 K
LP: Monroe; 2 2/3 IP, 2 K
Cougars: Holmes, 2-for-3, HR, 2 RBI; Harmeier, 2-for-4, HR, RBI; Powless, 1-for-4, HR, 3 RBI; Bray, 3-for-4, RBI; Ratermann, 2-for-2, RBI.
Record: 8-3 (7-1 NTC)