And if you would have told Flyer baseball coach Jim Carper his team would be in the situation it was in on Tuesday?
"I would have said you were nuts," Carper said with a smile.
But the reality was, St. Paul jumped on South Central and led from start to finish in a 7-3 Firelands Conference contest that very well may have served as a league championship game.
The Flyers improved to 15-7 overall and 12-1 in the FC, clinching at least a share of the FC title, their third in a row. St. Paul wraps up conference play on Friday at home against Mapleton. The Flyers topped Mapleton, 7-0 on April 29. Division IV No. 18-ranked South Central fell to 14-6, 9-2.
"It took those 16 young men right there," Carper said of his team. "They cross the white line and they get the job done. All the credit goes to them. They are an incredible bunch of young men."
Lars Livengood opened the game with a single off Trojans' pitcher Simon Blair. Scott Adelman's ground ball to the left side was misplayed then errantly thrown to first base. That put two runners in scoring position as Gavin Starcher grounded out, scoring Livengood. Noah Good followed with a RBI single for a 2-0 lead.
"We have to play with max effort all the time," South Central coach Ty Dendinger said. "I feel like we lost that game in the first inning. We actually lost the game before we ever got out here. We did not pay attention to details. Don't take that as me taking anything away from St. Paul."
Starcher was perhaps wildly efficient on the mound for St. Paul. Two of his what would be seven walks came in the first inning to Philip Madison and Blair, but he bounced back to strike out Isaiah Seidel and David Lamoreaux to keep the Trojans in check.
The Flyers added single runs in the second and fourth inning. In the second, No. 9 hitter Brandon Furlong walked with two outs and stole second base. He then scored when Livengood hit his second single of the day.
St. Paul increased the lead to 4-0 in the fourth inning. Spencer Myers walked and advanced around the bases after three wild pitches. Livengood added a third single in the inning, but was stranded there.
"We have been struggling putting all three phases together," Dendinger said. "I think we have some guys that are really letting certain aspects of their game they are not maybe doing the best determine what they do in other areas."
South Central scored in one inning and that was the fourth. Tycen Cooper was hit by a pitch to start before Evan Legg singled. Blaine Wheeler then reached on an error — St. Paul's lone error of the game — allowing Cooper to score on the play. Wheeler stole second and Legg took third prior to a run-scoring groundout by Curtis Fredricks.
Sam Seidel followed with a single into center to bring in Wheeler. After a flyout, Blair singled before Carper opted to intentionally walk Isaiah Seidel. It paid off as Starcher induced a groundout from David Lamoreaux to avoid further damage.
"Gavin is a competitor," Carper said. "He has that ‘never say die’ attitude. With him, I know what I am going to get from him every time. He never fails."
The Flyers got one of the runs back in the fifth inning. Noah Good and Jake Griffin both drew walks and moved up to third and second, respectively, on a double steal. Blair got a strikeout for the second out of the inning, but Spencer Myers singled to score Good. A good relay throw and play to the plate, however, gunned down Griffin trying to increase the lead.
"When you are playing a great team like South Central, no lead is safe," Carper said. "We just kept plugging away."
With Starcher's pitch count forcing him out of the game after six innings, St. Paul added two insurance runs in the seventh. Adelman singled and went to second in a sacrifice bunt. Griffin was hit by a pitch, then Jude Sweet roped a single into right field. That scored Adelman, and a fielding error on the hit allowed Griffin to race all the way around from first to score.
"St. Paul came ready to play," Dendinger said. "They saw that opportunity in front of them and they took advantage of it. We clawed our way back, but then we let down a little bit and St. Paul took advantage again."
Tyler Perkins pitched a scoreless seventh to finish off the game. He walked Isaiah Seidel, but forced two flyouts and a ground out to end the improbable two days for St. Paul.
"If we had not taken care of business before this was here, this would just be two baseball games," Carper said. "South Central is a fantastic team. Their kids play with class."
Blair allowed five runs on seven hits and four walks. He struck out six and threw 100 pitches.
"St. Paul went out and competed and they won a ball game," Dendinger said. "Give them all the credit because they deserve it."
Starcher gave up just three hits while striking out six.
"Gavin pitched a fantastic game," Carper said. "He was at 110 pitches and the kid is going to play in college... he wanted to pitch that seventh inning, but I’m not going to do that to any kid. He was great."
South Central still has three conferences game left. They play Western Reserve twice and host Plymouth.
St. Paul 210 110 2 — 7 9 1
S. Central 000 300 0 — 3 3 2
WP: Starcher; LP: Blair