Northwestern’s baseball team entered spring break with a 3-0 record, but turned in a disappointing performance out of the break in a 10-5 loss to Eastern Tuesday in Greentown where the Tigers committed four errors and walked six batters.
Coach Mike Brazel felt that his team’s minds were still on spring break in Panama City Beach, Fla. The Tigers let their coach know they were back in full force by the end of the week, topping Oak Hill 4-2 Thursday before trouncing Twin Lakes Friday 14-1 in five innings to improve to 5-1 on the season.
The Tigers erupted for 13 runs in the second inning on 10 hits to bury the Indians at home.
Loren Gonzalez (one RBI), Cullen Graber (one RBI) and Tanner Martin (two RBIs) each went 2 for 2 at the plate, while Craten Brown went 2 for 2 with a triple and four RBIs. Conner Milligan added an exclamation point with a grand slam.
Trevor Richmond picked up the win on the bump, allowing one run in four innings of work on two hits, a walk and a hit batsman. He struck out four.
“Trevor did an outstanding job on the mound. He came out, threw strikes and got ahead of batters,” Brazel said. “Defensively, we were very fundamentally sound with only one error. We jumped on them early, and this was the first time we’ve actually had quite a few hits and people on base. We knew it was coming, it was just a matter of time. We’ve been pressing and the kids have been anxious, but [Friday] night the kids came in calm and had good at bats.”
Manchester 2, Eastern 1
A solo home run from Kile Nolder gave the Comets (3-3) a 1-0 lead in the sixth inning.
With two outs and the bases empty in the seventh, a pair of errors enabled the Squires to push across the tying and winning runs after being held scoreless until down to their final bullet.
Nolder also doubled in the loss, while Eastern’s other hits came on singles from Cree Johnston and Ryan Lindsay.
Connor Young was the tough-luck loser on the hill, allowing no earned runs in a complete-game effort. He allowed four hits and walked a pair while striking out four.
“It was a good team effort, but disappointing to not close it out with having the first two guys out there in the seventh,” Eastern coach Nick Sale said. “We can definitely learn from something like this. A couple guys made errors and in the end were disappointed, and I told them ‘You’re not going to make those errors later in the season during conference play or in the sectional.’
“I can’t stress enough how proud I am of Connor Young. With his performance, if we get that all season long I’m sure I will feel good about the outcome.”
Frankfort 13, Kokomo 3, 5 inn.
The Wildkats (2-4) held a 2-0 lead heading into the third inning, when, as coach Tim Weeks put it, “the wheels fell off.”
The Class 3A No. 7-ranked Hot Dogs (7-0) broke out for seven runs in the third and five more in the fifth, all coming unearned on seven Kokomo errors.
Andrew Schten took the loss on the hill as 12 runs — all unearned — crossed the plate on his watch.
Luke Alexander had the Kats’ only extra-base hit with a double, while Cody Shipley and Eli Grimes both added singles. Drew Sale, Channing Webster and Parker Sanburn all had RBI groundouts for Kokomo.
“I’m at a loss for words,” Weeks said. “When you only give up one earned run and get 10-run-ruled — what can you say about that? We didn’t play well defensively. We jumped out to a lead, then had that one bad inning like we have a tendency to do. It’s discouraging, but it’s still early in the year and we still believe in the kids. They’re still working hard and wanting to do the right things and get it turned in the right direction. We’ll find the answers.”
Eastern 9, Oak Hill 3
After losing its opening game, Eastern (4-1) has ran off four straight victories.
In its latest victory, Eastern had to come back from a 3-0 deficit. The Comets did that in fashion by scoring three runs in the bottom of the third inning to tie the game at 3-3. Eastern would later score a run in the fourth, two runs in the fifth and three runs in the sixth to pull away for the 9-3 win.
Abby Oyler was the winning pitcher for Eastern. She came in relief of Quinlyn Hochstedler in the first inning. Oyler inherited two runners on base, and a run already across home plate with no outs. Oyler allowed no runs on one hit and one walk, while striking out 10 in seven innings pitched.
“I was really proud of the girls,” Eastern coach Jerry Haines said. “They came back after spotting them three runs. We had a really good game both offensively and defensively.”
Brooke Stout led Eastern with a double and two singles. MacKenzie Marner added a single, double and three runs batted in. Oyler, Lizzy Mavrick and Ally Oyler each had two singles. Abby Oyler and Ally Oyler each had two RBIs.
Eastern’s Bethany Neeley won the mile run here Friday in a time of five minutes flat. Brittany Neeley was seventh (5:06). Sarah Wagner came in 38th (5:22.52), and Avery Ewing was 52nd (5:32.).
“It was probably the best dozen milers in the state that were here,” Eastern coach Michael Goodspeed said. “We are really pleased by our performances, especially Bethany. She beat the state cross country champion. Usually, the winner of this event goes on and wins state [at the IHSAA state finals].”
Cass 147, Delphi 166
Cass (1-0) opened up its season with all four top scores in the 30s. The Kings were led by medalist Brad Gray, shooting a two-under-par 33. David Watterson followed with a one-over 36, and Zach Watterson and Kalen Linback each shot 39.
“I was very pleased with how the boys played for their first match,” Cass coach Susan Truax said. “I think we will have a really strong team this year, and do well with our season.”
Eastbrook 168, Eastern 173
The Comets (0-2) fell to the Panthers on the front nine at Wildcat Creek G.C., but shaved 24 strokes off their score from Tuesday’s season opener at Peru.
Eastbrook’s Brett Wilson took medalist honors with a two-over 38.
Andrew Kerner led Eastern with a 41, while Kane Roush and Matt Wylie both added 43s. Charlie Doak carded a 46 to round out the Comets’ scorecard.
“We played well from top to bottom, varsity to JV,” Eastern coach Mike Hamilton said. “And, I don’t think we’re done growing yet. [Friday] night was a nice start toward reaching what I believe this team is capable of. The ball striking is much better and our putts are still a little high, but we hit more fairways and greens than our first outing.”