By TRIBUNE SPORTS STAFF
---- — With the Zionsville Invitational looming today, Eastern’s boys track and field team utilized a number of athletes who normally occupy reserve roles in Thursday’s dual meet with Elwood.
The youngsters didn’t disappoint.
The Comets won seven events to hold off the Panthers 72-50 and improve to 3-2 in dual meets on the season.
Evan Hursh was a triple winner for Eastern. He won the 800-meter run in 2:31 before teaming for a pair of relay victories. Austin Bergman, Matt Kerner and Dalton Ryan joined Hursh to win the 4x800 relay in 10:03, while Ryan, Bergman and Brenton Cherry joined Hursh to win the 4x100 relay in :52.9.
Ben Cole took top honors in the 110 (:19.9) and 300 (:48.96) hurdles. Christian Isham was tops in the 100 dash in :11.95, and Josh Isacc rounded out the Comets’ winners in the high jump (5-6).
Cole Walker also finished second in four events in the win.
“We rested a lot of older guys,” Eastern coach Austin Roark said. “We had a lot of contributions from freshmen and sophomores with seconds the thirds. Ben Cole is coming through in the hurdles, getting more comfortable in those events. Our distance guys are getting better, so on a night where we got to pull the older guys, they got to shine. It’s nice to see what we have coming in the next few years. These types of meets are a lot of fun for me.”
Eastern 79, Elwood 43
Eastern’s girls track squad boasted four double winners.
Kaylie Forgrave won the 800 in 3:07, and teamed with Mengyuan Zhu, Madisen Ramos and Elyssa DeAngulo to win the 4x800 relay in 13:09.
Arienna Ewing was tops in the 100 hurdles in :17.1, and teamed with Kaylee Gebhart, Maya Valadez and Brooke Haalck to win the 4x100 relay in :54.9.
Haalck also won the long jump (14-11 ¼), while Alicia Eckart took top honors in the high jump (4-6) and 300 hurdles (:58.4).
Carly Jones won the 400 in 1:09 for the Comets. Danielle Reed won the shot put with a heave of 32-9, and Jenny Keith rounded out Eastern’s winners in the discus, with a fling of 105-9.
Western 3, H. Heights 0
Erika Beeler tossed a two-hit shutout with 13 strikeouts to lead the Panthers to victory over the Huskies in a key MIC battle at Russiaville.
Beeler was in control throughout, issuing just three walks — two intentionally.
Abby Renken gave Beeler all the run support she would need with a solo home run in the first inning. Jenna Wiechmann added RBI doubles in both the third and fourth frames for the Panthers (7-3, 2-0). Wiechmann also had a single in the win, while Renken belted a double.
“Erika was very dominant and they really never threatened,” Western coach Jim Clouse said. “Defensively, we were sound. We left 11 baserunners on, so we had chances to break it open, but we kept coming even when we failed to score. In the MIC, you have to keep pace. You can’t have multiple losses and have a chance, and one of our main goals is to win the MIC.”
Northwestern 10, Peru 2
Kelsey Richards cranked her sixth homer of the season and Northwestern kept up its perfect start to the Mid-Indiana Conference slate by taking down the Bengal Tigers in Peru.
Richards opened the scoring with a two-run blast in the top of the first inning — her sixth tater in the last six games — and the Purple Tigers scored two more runs in the second inning but Peru scored three over that span for a tight game.
Pitcher Crystal Metz didn’t allow another run and the Purple Tigers scored six more times to improve to 11-2 overall and 2-0 in the MIC. Metz pitched a complete game with two earned runs, four walks and 10 strikeouts.
Northwestern coach Jordan Dyer liked his squad’s aggressiveness at the plate. Richards added a two-run double to her day. Bailey Thatcher was 3 for 4 with two singles and a triple. Metz had two RBI doubles. Lauryn Wyrick doubled twice, and Kindra Gingerich and Macey Jordan each doubled.
“We talked about [Wednesday] night, after playing Delphi, we had a slow start, watched some pitches, and [Thursday] we came out swinging and really put the ball in play,” Dyer said. “We had seven doubles. I would say most of all our baserunning was a complete 180 from [Wednesday] night. We were smart on the bases, made good choices, just played smart softball.”
Eastern 16, Maconaquah 0, 5 innings
The Comets got two runs on the board in the first inning, capped by a solo shot from Ally Oyler, and never looked back as they rocked the Braves at Maconaquah.
Lizzy Mavrick connected on a three-run, two out homer in the top of the sixth to help the Comets score six runs in that frame. She added a two-run single in the fourth. Abby Oyler had two singles, a double and a three-run homer. Besides her homer, Ally Oyler added two more singles. Brooke Stout doubled and had two singles. And Maddie Vint singled and doubled.
Abby Oyler was in control in the circle, throwing a two-hitter with no walks and 10 strikeouts. Eastern improved to 10-3 overall, 2-0 in the MIC.
“We waited while the JV game played. It was cold and windy, so everybody’s pretty cold before the game ever starts and you always wonder how they’re going to react,” Eastern coach Jerry Haines said. “Man, they went out and scored in the first inning, then the three-run shot that Marvick hit in the second essentially put us over the hump.
“We kept hitting the ball and Abby kept pitching strong.”
Cass 8, Taylor 1
Taylor managed 10 hits but Cass pitcher Savanna Thompson limited the damage to just one run as the Kings improved to 5-7 overall and 1-1 in the MIC.
Emma Williams led Taylor (4-9, 0-2 MIC) at the plate, going 3-for-3 with three singles. Brie Boehler and Hannah Mullinax each singled twice. Starter Cami Hansen took the loss.
“We hit the ball really well, we just had a mental error in the second inning,” Taylor coach April Johnston said. “We had runners on first and second and we couldn’t execute the bunt. If we can start executing we’ll start putting runs across the board.”
Lafayette Jeff 10, Kokomo 2
The Bronchos put the game away early with eight runs in the bottom of the first inning.
Kokomo got a solo homer from Emily Fisher in the third, her first-career dinger, and Miranda Ogle singled in a run in the sixth. Those were Kokomo’s only two hits.
“They scored eight runs in the first inning and zero of them were earned,” Kokomo coach Mike Susong said. “We had a rough first inning.
“Our leadoff hitter possibly pulled her hamstring, and we had two girls who were out with injuries already, so we had several people playing out of position and it showed defensively in that first inning. We’re going to have to have other people step up.”
Western 6, H. Heights 3
The Huskies and Panthers were tied at 2-2 to start the top of the sixth when the Panthers broke the deadlock with a four-run inning to take control. Braxton Hunt got the rally started with a lead-off triple. Austin Weaver followed with a single, then Cameron Herr doubled and the Panthers were on their way.
Hunt added a single and had two stolen bases in the game, and Austin Taylor had two singles and two steals as the Panthers improved to 7-4 overall, 2-0 in the MIC.
Dalton Leighty started and got the win for the Panthers. He threw all seven innings with two earned runs, seven hits, one walk and seven strikeouts.
“Really, we just came out cold,” Western coach Quentin Brown said. “But they came out and battled through a little adversity. We came on strong late so I just think we needed a little bit of time to get to the pitcher. The pitcher was very good for Hamilton Heights. [The Panthers] just battled and played well.”
Western is alone atop the MIC standings at 2-0. Six teams are locked in a tie for second at 1-1.
Peru 5, Northwestern 4
Northwestern scored three runs in the bottom of the first to take a 3-2 lead, but the Purple Tigers’ bats went largely quiet the rest of the way.
“We scattered a few hits, but struck out 10 times so didn’t really put the pressure on the defense too much,” Northwestern coach Kyle Beachy said.
Peru scored the go-ahead run in the fifth inning. The Bengal Tigers reached on a leadoff walk. After Northwestern recorded two outs, Peru had an RBI single.
Northwestern pitcher Evan Matlock went the distance. He allowed four earned runs and four hits. He struck out four, but walked six.
“For us, it was the walks and a couple untimely passed balls that killed us. They really didn’t hit the ball very well,” Beachy said. “We were in position to score in the seventh — had runners on second and third and Austin Pyle hit a rocket shot to center field and the guy made a leaping catch to end the game.”
Pyle finished 2 for 4 with a two-run homer. Erick Vas was 2 for 5 with an RBI double.
Northwestern dropped to 8-6 overall and 1-1 in the Mid-Indiana Conference.
Maconaquah 17, Eastern 6, 5 innings
The Braves improved to 8-5 on the year (1-1 MIC) with the win in Bunker Hill, busting out for five runs in the first, four in the second and eight in the fourth to overwhelm the Comets.
Taylor Lamble led Maconaquah at the plate, going 3-for-4 with a home run and five RBIs. Will Feller doubled, homered and drove in three runs. Josh Holmes tripled and added three RBIs. Nick Love added three singles and an RBI. Kade Dennis singled and doubled. Jorge Cortez had a double, and Josh Fewell and Vince Taylor both added two singles in a robust offensive day for the Braves.
Matt Simmerman swatted a solo homer for the Comets (6-5, 1-1) in the first, and Blaine Dahl added a pair of singles in the loss.
“I’m surprised with the way our pitchers came out [Thursday],” Eastern coach Nick Sale said. “The wind was crazy, and anything up in the zone the kids were driving out of the ballpark. Playing a lot of games in a short time, dwelling on this does us no good. We have to bounce back and regroup, because we played well all week and can’t let one bad game get us down.”
Cass 11, Taylor 1, 5 innings
The Kings struck for nine runs in the first inning and went on to win in five innings over visiting Taylor.
The Kings improved to 8-4 and 1-1 in the MIC and handed the Titans (5-7, 0-2) their fourth straight loss.
Cass junior right-hander Jake Wilburn allowed one run (unearned) on four hits and two walks in five innings, striking out four.
Ryan Bixler had two hits in the first inning alone for the Kings and finished 3-for-4 with two RBI and two runs scored. Wilburn and R.J. Phillips each had RBI doubles in the first. Jake Miller, Brandon Carden and Ty Stover had RBI singles in the opening inning. Carden, Wilburn and Miller each finished with two hits in the contest.
Taylor scored its lone run in the top of the fourth on an error on a fly ball. Jordan Lazaro, Nick Barnett, Jordan Maroney and Jonathan Mahone had the Titans’ four hits in the contest. Starting pitcher Lazaro took the loss. Mike Gammans relieved and allowed two runs (one earned) on six hits in 3 1/3 innings.
“Obviously you’re never happy when you get down 9-0 in the first inning. But I at least thought the kids showed a little bit of character after that kind of hanging in it,” Taylor coach Brent Owens said. “I have nothing but praise for Mike Gammans. Mike Gammans is a senior and he came in a tough situation, and he gave us a huge lift. That’s the most innings he’s ever thrown for me at the varsity level and from my standpoint that was the one positive we can draw from [Thursday].”
Lafayette Catholic 6, Kokomo 2
Class 2A No. 3-ranked Lafayette Catholic used a big sixth inning to break open a close game against Kokomo at CFD Investments Stadium in Highland Park.
The Knights took a 2-1 led into the sixth, then scored four runs to take firm control.
“We had a couple of errors with two outs that hurt us,” Kokomo coach Tim Weeks said. “They got bases loaded, then they got a squeeze and that’s kind of what opened the floodgates. They followed with a double that cleared the bases.”
Mavric Collier suffered the loss. He started and worked four innings, allowing two runs.
Colan Ruch had a triple for the Kats (7-6) and S.A. Dunn had a double.
“It was a great game. Both teams played well,” Weeks said.
Tipton 166, Taylor 220
Tanner Maxey carded a 3-over 38 on the front nine at Tipton Municipal G.C. to snag medalist honors as the Blue Devils topped the Titans.
Isaac Schmitt added a 41 for Tipton, while Kellen Woods shot a 42 and Seth Grimme and Henry Ressler both carded 45s.
“I was again pleased with our scores,” Tipton coach Ken Day said. “I think everyone would love for the weather conditions to change so we can really start finding out what the kids are capable of. I’m excited Maxey is playing well, and we got good scores out of Schmitt and Woods. We’re coming together.”
Tyler Till led Taylor with a 51 and Nick Denman added a 52. Fred Durham (57) and Caleb Copp (59) rounded out the Titans’ top four.
Carroll 175, W. Central 207, Frontier 237
Ty Gray shot a 4-over 40 on the front side at Edwood Glen C.C. in Lafayette to lead the Cougars to a comfortable victory. Justin Roberson added a 42, Cole Hickner shot 46 and Luke Atkisson shot 47. Carroll improved to 13-5 on the season.
“My gosh it was awful cold and awful rainy, and windy,” Carroll coach Jack Lane said. “It was coming down pretty good but we really played good considering the wind, and the rain. For a bunch of young kids — they’re all sophomores and juniors — they’re really playing good.”
Kokomo 4, Northwestern 1
The Wildkats picked up a victory over a potential sectional opponent for the second time in as many days, taking three-set wins at three spots to outlast the Purple Tigers.
Regina Del Bosque was a 3-6, 6-3, 7-5 winner for Kokomo (4-3) over Alexis Hungate at No. 2 singles.
Emily Morita was also a three-set winner for the Kats, taking a 4-6, 6-0,6-3 decision over Kady Whitehead.
The Kats’ No. 1 doubles tandem of Stephanie Kailey and AnneMarie Balsbaugh defeated Madison Wells and Megan Floyd, 6-3, 5-7, 6-2 to round out the three-set matches.
Rachel Stout and Sunnih Flores were 6-0, 6-3 winners of Erica Plutat and Lauren Miller at No. 2 doubles to round out Kokomo’s winners.
“It was a tough match,” Kokomo coach Natalie Rainey said. “It could’ve easily gone 4-1 for Northwestern. It was pretty intense with three matches that went three sets. To our credit, we won all three so I think that says a lot about our mental toughness. I’m proud of them for sticking with it. Regina got her first win of the year, so I’m really proud of her.”
For Northwestern, Emily Harshman picked up a 6-3, 6-2 win over Amanda Tran.
Cass 5, Taylor 0
The Titans fell to 2-3 on the year, and 1-2 in MIC play with the loss to the Kings.
Cass’ Gabi Hartley defeated Jessica Fox 8-6, 6-4 in the battle at No. 1 singles.
“All the matches were over, including JV, and those two were still in the tiebreaker in the first set,” Taylor coach Dave Wise said. “They played for almost 2.5 hours in two sets.”