Rams likely to face Hallsville ace today in Class 2 semis

Wednesday, May 28, 2008
KIT DOYLE ~ kdoyle@semissourian.com The Scott City bench reacted as Austin Raines, center, headed for home with the go-ahead run in the eighth inning, Wednesday, May 21, 2008, during the Class 2 State Quarterfinal against Clearwater in Piedmont.

SCOTT CITY — Senior Ryan Modglin is ready to help Scott City win a state title using both his arm and his bat.

The Rams (21-1) play a Class 2 semifinal game against Hallsville (15-7) today at 4 p.m. at Meador Park in Springfield for a chance to play in the state championship game Thursday.

Scott City coach Lance Amick said Modglin likely will be the starting pitcher in today's game if he feels OK with junior hurler Shae Simmons starting the potential title game. Modglin, who felt some soreness in his arm after the sectional game he pitched last week, said he's ready.

"My arm feels good," Modglin said. "At the state tournament, if I throw the first game there, I'm going to have to focus on pitching. If not, then I'm just going to have to hit the ball."

Modglin has a 7-1 record, an 0.53 ERA and 104 strikeouts in 53 innings.

"I would do whatever it takes to win a state title or to get third or whatever we're playing for," Modglin said. "I'll do whatever it takes. This team is great and they've done everything they can for me."

Today's victor advances to play in the Class 2 title game Thursday at 4 p.m. against the winner of today's other semifinal between Conway (20-7) and Barstow (17-1) at 7 p.m.

AARON EISENHAUER ~ aeisenhauer@semissourian.com In addition to a 7-1 pitching record, Scott City's Ryan Modglin is batting .619 with 10 home runs and 44 RBIs.

Scott City is playing in its first final four since 1990, when it tied for third place.

"This is big," freshman Austin Raines said. "We haven't gone this far in a while, but we've all been working hard for it."

Amick expects his team to face Indians ace Austin Church, a 6-foot-2 senior left-hander, who posted an 8-1 record with an 0.36 ERA. He compiled 99 strikeouts in 58 1/3 innings. He has pitched 46 percent of Hallsville's innings this spring.

"The encouraging thing is he's given up five or six hits in each game," Amick said of Church. "As long as those are timely hits, we feel like we can manufacture two or three runs to give ourselves a chance to win. Going in, as long as our pitching keeps carrying us a little bit and we get some timely hitting, I like our chances."

Church is one of five pitchers on the Indians staff. The other four have not been as strong, with a combined 4.94 ERA.

"Offensively, we need to sit back on his curveball," junior Josh Henson said. "We heard he's got a pretty good curveball, and try to hit it to the opposite field."

Modglin and senior catcher Cody Carlyle lead the Rams' offense. Modglin is batting .619 with 10 home runs and 44 RBIs. Carlyle has seven home runs, 31 RBIs and a .566 average.

"We'll run if we feel like we can steal bases," Amick said. "We may hit and run. ... We're not going to change a lot. We've been pretty efficient all year on offense. We feel the key to that is we hit. I'd put us up there with anybody in the area."

Hallsville bats .278 as a team with just two home runs.

"They just put a lot of balls in play," Amick said. "They're not overly [powerful]. They're not going to have any kids like Modglin or Carlyle in their lineup."

While Modglin and Simmons (6-0, 1.45 ERA) likely will start the two games in the tournament, Henson and Skylar Cobb could be used in relief.

Henson has a 3-0 record with a 2.10 ERA in 20 innings. Cobb has a 3-0 record with a 2.10 ERA in 13 1/3 innings.

"I come in there and throw hard for a couple of innings," Henson said. "So I think I throw better in relief when the pressure is on and I've got a lead to hold."

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