By ANDRES MARTINEZ
Herald-Whig Sports Editor
PAYSON, Ill. — The Payson Seymour baseball players believe everyone has a role, no matter where they are in the lineup.
"We know our pitching is going to do their job all the time," the Indians' Tanner Stout said. "Then we feel comfortable with our batters. It might not be our three- or four-hole hitters doing their job, but you get that bottom of the lineup doing their job, that's going to start something."
That's exactly what the Indians did Monday, getting contributions up and down the lineup in a 9-0 victory at home against Liberty.
"We put the ball in play. We put the pressure on other teams to make them make plays," Payson coach Michael Hamby said. "That's been successful this year for us so far. We have a lot of key guys putting the ball in play, getting key hits."
The Indians (10-3) did that from the onset. After grounding into a fielder's choice, Payson's Drew Burwinkel attempted to steal second as Stout singled, allowing Burwinkel to score from first. Stout advanced to second on a throw home.
Cody Hildebrand followed that with an infield single before Scott Lentz was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Liberty pitcher Connor O'Neil was called for a balk, allowing Stout to score. Carter Eppersen added a sacrifice fly,
"Everyone in the lineup has been doing their job," Hildebrand said. "We're just getting good hits when we need them, and that's good when you've got guys 1-9 who can hit the ball."
The Indians were aided by strong pitching performances by starter Austin Coultas and Stout. The duo combined to allow only one hit, while striking out 10.
"I wouldn't call them No. 1 and No. 2. They're kind of like a two-headed dragon right now. They're both No. 1s," Hamby said. "Anytime they're on the mound, we know we're going to get a good pitching performance. The team rallies behind them."
Liberty (1-9) struggled against that 1-2 punch.
"We saw good pitching from them," Liberty coach Dewey Hanzel. "Getting down early in any game is not easy. We tend to tighten up a little bit at the plate with our urgency."
Payson added two runs in the second inning and another in the third to extend its lead to 6-0.
Payson did more damage in the fifth inning, with two outs, Stout tripled to right-center field and Hildebrand doubled to right-center to drive in Stout.
"It's a big help knowing that two people don't have to the job the whole time," Stout said. "You know everybody's going to do their job. That'll take a slack off of a lot of people."